Hospitality Operations Management: The Food/Beverage Industry
Summer College 2017
Hi! I'm Robert, a junior from Newton South High School in Newton, Massachusetts. My entire life I have found an insatiable curiosity about one subject: food. From a young age, flipping through cookbooks and then running to the kitchen, eager to experiment with new recipes, were, and are, some of my favorite pastimes. Over the course of the school years and summers since I was twelve years old, I have worked as a cook in several Boston area restaurants. Further pursuing my passion, two years ago, I decided to start a private chef service to cook at dinner parties tailored to the guests' own preferences in their homes. Ultimately, I dream of owning my own restaurant. At CUSC, I will be taking Hospitality Operations Management: Entrepreneurship in the Food and Beverage Industry. I am thrilled to be able to study at Cornell this summer.
It has been exactly one week since I arrived here at Cornell. Initially, going to class in a large(ish) lecture hall packed with students from around the world was quite intimidating. After being here for several days though, I've had the opportunity to settle into my rather cramped and sweltering dorm room and to make a few friends in the process. My class is going fantastically well. My professor is extremely knowledgeable and has had many years of practical experience in the hospitality industry, giving the course a unique balance between textbook theory and commentary based on real world happenings. My professor was also able to arrange a copious amount of guest lecturers who have dedicated their lives to the hospitality industry. It may feel as though I'm right back in the middle of junior year in terms of workload, but being given the chance to study alongside other students my age who both share my passion for the restaurant industry and those who are working towards careers in other aspects of hospitality makes the intense study schedule well worth it.
Having spent my first days here at Cornell keeping up with my coursework and getting settled into a daily routine, I decided to take some time this weekend to explore the Cornell campus and the town of Ithaca. On Saturday morning, my friends and I visited Collegetown Bagels for breakfast before attempting (and after considerable problem solving and effort, succeeding) to finish a load of laundry. In the evening, we took the bus into downtown Ithaca to have dinner and explore the Ithaca Commons. On Sunday we woke up early to beat the crowd to Ithaca's Farmers' Market where the plethora of baked goods and fresh vegetables paired with vendors selling cooked foods made for a thrilling morning. The Amok Chicken at Khmer Angkor Cambodian Food was a favorite, and I would definitely recommend a trip there to anyone who visits the Ithaca Farmers' Market. My first week here at Cornell has been absolutely thrilling, and I can't wait to see what the rest of my time here has in store!
I'm now entering the final week of my Summer College stay here at Cornell. My class has been both extremely challenging yet engaging and exciting at the same time. The way my class is structured, your ultimate performance is heavily dependent on how your project group mates perform throughout the term. Taking this into account, I have had the privilege of working many hours with and getting to know quite well my fantastic teammates. There were many late nights this week that we spent working in the first-floor lounge of Mary Donlon Hall. Although I have spent quite a bit of time indoors this week (perhaps more than I'd like), taking such a condensed course has helped me expand my knowledge of the hospitality industry by leaps and bounds every day. We have continued the trend of having guest lecturers currently in the hospitality industry come speak to our class about current trends and their past learnings.
Many of the friends I have made at Summer College are just as passionate and interested in cooking as I am. Because of our shared passion, this weekend we scoured Ithaca for a kitchen to use to cook dinner. At the eleventh hour, just before we called off the whole plan, we found ourselves a cooking space. We prepared a simple dinner of roasted chicken, potatoes, and tomatoes, along with a salad of beets and kale. Needless to say, all of us were ecstatic to have a home cooked meal for the first time in two weeks.
Spending time to reflect on my time here, I realized that the past two weeks have flown by, and I think my last week will pass even more quickly. I'm pumped to see what's in store for the rest of the program!
Here's a video of the dinner we made.
If you ever have the chance to attend Cornell's Summer College, do it immediately. Although I arrived at Mary Donlon Hall with some apprehension, asking my RCA to check me out of my room was truly bittersweet. My three weeks in Ithaca introduced me to a plethora of new experiences, both academic and social. Having to work closely with complete strangers in the classroom pushed me to step up my leadership and communication skills while simultaneously keeping up with rigorous coursework. Outside the lecture hall, I was reminded that the ability to make friends is one of the most important skills one can have and I'm lucky to say that I bonded with many students both from the United States and from other countries across the globe. I plan to remain in contact with many of my friends from Summer College for years to come.
My time this summer at Cornell passed quickly. I had the extremely unique privilege of being able to study one of my greatest interests and passions alongside peers from around the globe who hold the food and beverage industry similarly close to their hearts. Being thrown from the stunningly beautiful Ithaca campus right back into normal life came as a little bit of a shock to my system and I'm just now readjusting to it. In the past two weeks, I have found myself wanting to be right back in the Nestle Library at Statler Hall with my nose buried in that night's assigned reading. I must say again that if you are at all considering Cornell Summer College, I implore you to attend. You won't regret it.