Senior Nutrition students had a lot on their plates hosting the annual Pangea Café take-over event – everything from planning meals to cooking in the kitchen. But the real key to their success, they say, is teamwork.
Four groups of 12 students took over Pangea Café in the OSU Memorial Union in May as part of a senior level Nutrition class. The class, NUT447 (more commonly known as the Pangea class), covers what students have learned in the last four years.
“I like that it wraps it all up, is practical and is a real life experience for them,” says College of Public Health and Human Sciences Instructor Robyn Jones, who teaches the class and is the food service director for Pangea Café.
Throughout the course, students are required to work as a team to choose a theme, pick recipes, design a menu, market the event, order food, test and quantify recipes and finally, run the event.
“The Pangea takeover was a huge learning experience,” says Nutrition and Dietetics student Bri Ivey, whose group’s theme was “A Culinary Road Trip Across the U.S.” “As a group, we had been planning our event for nine weeks and all of our ideas came to life the day of the takeover. It was great learning from the more culinary focused students in our group on how to successfully run a restaurant.”
“We learned so much from this experience at Pangea, from being able to forecast sales to working with a group planning, prepping and carrying out an entire event,” says Nutrition and Dietetics student Rachael DeVaux, whose group’s theme was ‘A Fresh Taste of the Mediterranean.’
“This project was by far the best team experience I have had at Oregon State.”
The groups were required to serve two soups, including one that is vegetarian, a small and large garden salad, two entrée-type salads and six entrees. One item has to be gluten free and one vegan. Robyn says setting parameters forces students to think outside the box and get creative.
“This project was by far the best team experience I have had at Oregon State,” says Nutrition student Cooper Roberts, whose group’s theme was ‘Cruise to the Caribbean.’ “When event day came, we used the communication skills and trust we had built throughout the term to stay on track and complete the event without a hitch.”
All their hard work paid off. The yearly event attracted hundreds of customers, many of whom might not regularly frequent Pangea – but wanted to try something new and support students.
In addition to being a fun and educational experience, the course also prepared students for the future.
“This experience was invaluable and is something that we will all take with us in our future careers,” says Nutrition and Dietetics student Taylor Kayfes, whose group’s theme was ‘From Portland to Pangea.’ “This experience helps us by forcing us out of our comfort zones and allows us to be creative and work as a collaborative team – which is an important skill to have as we pursue our dreams of becoming registered dietitians and nutrition professionals.”