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Miami's 36,000 sq.ft. Ed Demske Culinary Support Center, opened in June of 2001. It is named after the school's former vice president of business finance who led the initiative to obtain capital funds for it and negotiated the purchase agreement for the facility.
The Center is located on the west side of campus, where the school was able to acquire a large building vacated by a retail grocery chain for $1.5 million. It was gutted and then retrofitted with over $8 million in enhancements. Today, the facility houses a modern foodservice warehouse, office space for administrative, culinary and support staff and extensive production operations that include a full blown commercial bakery, fresh produce processing, a hot production/cook chill operation, sushi and garde manger production.
Food production facilities include an ingredient room where components are assembled for upcoming production and for use in kitchens across campus, including the Shriver Center.
The dry warehouse is racked to three levels with a capacity of 37 full semi loads of product, with inventory turning about five times a year. Frozen storage is racked to four levels and can handle 22 full semi loads of product that turns about six times a year. A separate ice cream freezer maintains sub-zero temperatures. Individual refrigerated storage for meat and dairy, produce, finished product, cook-chill inventory and garde manger can store another seven full semi loads of product.
A six bay dock services four refrigerated campus delivery trucks and also stages incoming orders and cross-dock deliveries. These expanded facilities allow the department to purchase many high volume products directly from the school's manufacturer-suppliers.
Safety, quality and economy
“Our goals with the facility have always been safety first, then quality, then economy in operations,” says Pete Miller, associate vice president for auxiliaries. “Food safety concerns led us to end the meat cutting that had been going on in the old facility, and we saw much more opportunity in other areas. The Center lets us standardize the ingredient components used across the campus, but still allows us to customize usage at the point of final preparation and sale.”
The Ed Demske Culinary Support Center
Miller says that, once it was up and running, the Center allowed staffing reductions across campus that were not possible before. “We also knew the Center would give us much more control over the sanitation of the containers, equipment, packaging and transportation of product.”
For example, lines for incoming raw produce and outgoing processed product are completely separate, reducing the chance for cross contamination. Meanwhile, raw whole product for individual facilities is re-packed into reusable and washable storage containers so that corrugate field shippers never go to campus kitchens.
In the earlier operation, five different sandwiches were produced centrally for campus to-go operations. Today, “we have a catalog of 68 ready-to-eat items we produce for the Uncle Phil's line on a staggered weekly schedule and we are increasing that number all the time,” says Heidtman. These are distributed from grab-and-go outlets and cases across the campus.
Paula Green, associate director of dining and culinary support services, oversees all of these production operations and is responsible for production, scheduling and operations management.
Karen Recker, manager of culinary services, is also based there and supervises menu writing, recipe development, programming, marketing and special events. She is also the department sanitarian and oversees the 26 concept brands that exist across the Miami campus. Procurement is also housed in the Center, overseen by Jon Brubacher, manager of food purchasing.
Here are just a few statistics to provide a snapshot of the Demske Center's operations.
Over 300,000 pretzel “dough logs” are produced annually for the “Miami Twister” fresh-baked soft pretzel concept.
The bakery produces an average of 5,600 pizza dough balls weekly.
Garde Manger slices and packages 3,500 pounds of deli turkey and 2,500 pounds of beef and ham weekly.
Vegetable Processing cuts over one million pounds of fruit and vegetables annually; another million pounds of whole fruit and vegetables are washed only and transported whole to campus operations annually.
Over 50 tons of mozzarella/provolone blend cheese for pizza, 200,000 heads of iceburg lettuce, 20,000 gallons of salad dressing, 150,000 pounds of frozen eggs and 50,000 pounds of fresh pineapple are purchased annually.