Food & Nutrition Tasks



Food & Nutrition Tasks image

Do you know what to expect when volunteering at the Singularity Group? While our volunteer page, and the volunteer experience document provide quite some information on what kind of different tasks we have, they aren't in-depth and the actual day-to-day duties and responsibilities of the same role can vary drastically between different places. So in this series I want to give you all the nitty-gritty details I know of, so you can learn what exact "todos" you could contribute with - and curb any imposter syndrome. 😉

Keep in mind that volunteers are not required to have any prior work experience, and you also don’t have to decide on a single specific role. In fact, most people contribute in multiple different areas and learn all necessary skills while working on corresponding projects. People don’t even call themselves by a specific role here, since titles are unimportant and too rigid. I’m just using them in these writeups to give you a better idea.

Food & Nutrition Tasks

Let’s start out this series with Food & Nutrition Tasks - or what one would expect as “Chef & Kitchen Hand”. Joining the “kitchen crew” (or “Baking Sense team” as some call it in-house) means you will help out with all kinds of tasks around food and nutrition. “Baking Sense” is the website we made that allows people to order meals daily between 6am-midnight. Yes, our longtime followers will have guessed it comes from “Making Sense” - but contrary to the name we don’t actually bake anything here. 😛

Meal Service

Only the kitchen crew is allowed in the kitchen, so they will prepare all meals and ingredients - non-staff can still take food from the snack bar outside the kitchen at any time. This rule exists due to hygiene reasons and because it’s simply impossible to have 50 people make their own meals - both because logistically we cannot fit that many people into our small kitchen at the same time, and because not everyone even knows or should have to know how to prepare all different kinds of food. Thus, the kitchen crew takes care of everything surrounding the kitchen - preparing ingredients, assembling meals, cleaning duties and other tasks.

The team divides their work into shifts, meaning if you take over one, you will be the only person in charge during this time. But don’t worry if you have no experience! New members first help out in one or multiple other people’s shifts for a few days, so you can “learn the ropes”.

A shift usually means 2 hours daily, for example from 9:00 until 11:00. But hours, times and days are discussed and organized for each person individually. Since you are the person responsible for the shift, you should organize a replacement or communicate to senior team members so they can do so in time whenever you are sick or cannot do a shift for other reasons.

Breakfast Prep

During your shift, your tasks might include any of these or similar ones:

  • Make fruit smoothies using the blender and provided recipes 🍌🍓
  • Prepare meals by combining ingredients, following instructions in the ordering system
  • Deliver those meals to people’s desks, pick-up point or fridge 🥗
  • Collect dishes you find during deliveries and bring them to the kitchen 🍴🥄
  • Load dishes into dishwasher, run the program, unload dishes and put them away
  • Hand wash sensitive dishes like knives and cutting boards 🔪
  • Monitor ingredient quantities and communicate to the team before they run out
  • Complete other kitchen duties, such as cleaning or stocking up utilities during your shift

Breakfast Smoothies

You might have noticed this list doesn’t actually include any cooking. Since we have so many people, assembling meals and similar duties will already keep you busy the whole time. So most of the cooking and prep work is usually done during less-busy or late shifts.

If you want to help out with the latter, your tasks could be:

  • Use pressure cookers or pots to cook lentils, buckwheat and millet 🍲
  • Steam different frozen vegetables and tempeh 🍅
  • Cut fresh vegetables, salad and similar ingredients into portionable sizes 🥕
  • Replace empty containers and fill up clean ones with seasonings, nuts and seeds 🥜
  • Label ingredients and meals with dates, check fridges and remove old ones 📅
  • Stock up various items necessary for the next day from the storage room

Steamed Veggies
Cut Veggies

Kitchen work is a team project, so if you are available outside of your shift, you could contribute with spontaneous one-off tasks, such as:

  • Cover other members’ shifts when they are unable to do so
  • If needed, help out with dishes and prepare missing ingredients during rush hours
  • Carry items inside and sort into storage rooms after shopping or grocery delivery 📦
  • Resort and restock items in fridges and storage room, ensuring older items get used first
  • Join in on regular kitchen deep cleaning sessions 🧹

Separately from directly working inside the kitchen, there are also other food management-related tasks. Examples:

  • Clean and fill up items on the snack bar and tea station, e.g. fruits and spoons 🍎🥄
  • Monitor food quantities and quality, track amounts in spreadsheets 📝
  • Bulk order groceries online, compare prices and correspond with suppliers
  • Organize grocery delivery and accept orders
  • In-person grocery shopping for missing items, driving with the car to the store 🚙
  • Research and optimize our Plant Based Nutrition and Meal Service Infrastructure

Kitchen Cleaning

Keep in mind that all duties mentioned in this post are just examples, so that means you won’t do all of them - unless you want to, of course. 😄 Nobody is going to stop you from contributing as much as you want in the Kitchen Crew, because having a healthy diet is at the core of all our projects and thus will always be important. But if you aren’t interested in this, don’t worry, we’ll have more posts coming up soon that cover different task areas. 🙂

singularity group building

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