At the Hospitality Learning Center, which is one of the departments at Metro University, students learn the culinary skills prepare quality food. Jimi Webb (age 31) works as the Operations Manager here. Jimi takes the Night Owls on a tour of the building, leading them first into the Sensory Analysis lab. Here the students learn the best ways to prepare meats, other foods, beverages and spirits. They test all the different ways to cook, then taste, feel, and smell the food. This room is very clean, because you want a clean presentation, and if the room was not clean, cross-contamination could happen.
Next Jimi takes the night owls into the Specialty Food Lab. This is a large kitchen where the students cook. Like the Sensory Analysis Lab, this kitchen is very clean. It is very air-conditioned. In the background the refrigerator loudly whirrs away and the blaster freezer at -30 degrees. In this kitchen the students also make food for their class grades, and they also have to have good presentation as well as quality food.
Now, Jimi takes group into the Quantity Food Lab. This is just like an upsized version of the Specialty Food Lab, with big deep fryer and sauté surface. In this kitchen cooking for food banks and the hotel restaurant nearby is done.
The Hospitality building is also just a great building. It got the LEED gold certification, meaning it is more energy efficient, recycles lots, composts extra food scraps, and uses non-toxic materials.
As the Operations Manager at the Hospitality Learning Center, Jimi coordinates the classes’ schedules and activities. He also works with Facilities at the school, buys the equipment, and maintains the equipment. His favorite part is when big events come up and he is able to cook with students for that. His biggest piece of inspiration is, “I Think going through my education and work the best thing I was ever told was to always strive to be better, nothing is perfect, and there is always room for improvement.”