Being a Kitchen Supervisor at the House

Rick ChattertonRick Chatterton is one of our kitchen supervisors here at the House. “I first found out about the House through a mutual friend, who was working for a company that would regularly provide dinners at House C,” says Rick. “I came across Adriel, another kitchen supervisor, and I thought, ‘Wow, this job is right up my alley!’ I had some previous experience with quality control and food safety from previous work on passenger cruise ships, so it seemed like a great fit.” Since 2008, Rick has been helping groups plan and make dinners that are delicious and adhere to the strict food safety guidelines we follow at the House.  “We’re truly tasked with making sure that the sick kids who are in our care don’t get any sicker,” he says. “Things like Salmonella can rapidly grow on food items that are within the ‘danger zone’ and we have a very fragile population at the House. Whereas some people have immune systems that could fight off a minor incident, our population cannot. We’re there to prevent outbreak. And, at the same time, make sure our meal groups have a memorable experience.”

Rick notes that kitchen supervisors & our Activities Coordinator are excellent resources for groups. They can help your group find recipes, help you organize your team, and are able to quickly resolve problems on the day of the meal. For first-time groups, Rick recommends checking out the meal program page, which is packed with information on how to get started. He recommends sticking to classic recipes that are easy to prepare. “Our families are so appreciative of all the meals that are served, regardless. My best piece of advice is not to make it overly complex. Even meals like commercially prepared chicken fingers and fries are welcomed by families. Add some fresh fruit and a nice salad and you’re set. You’re preparing for 110 people, so stray away from recipes that require long baking or cooking times.” However, that isn’t to say that a group can’t get creative. Rick learned from one of the meal groups that cooking in aluminum pans on the barbeque in the summer is an excellent way to impart grilled flavor into your meal without worrying about cleaning the entire grill afterwards.

Opportunities to serve meals during the holidays fill up quickly, so please visit our page on the Family Meal Program for the latest openings and more details. “If you’re considering volunteering just once during the holidays, we encourage you to think about spreading the joy of the season all year round,” says Rick. “Many people are motivated to give during the holiday season, which is wonderful, but we can’t accommodate everyone. However, we are definitely able to schedule groups in advance and would love some help in January and later into 2016.”