Alumnus Donates Commercial Oven
Charged with cooking for dignitaries attending Feast of the Arts and catering other high-end university events, WSU students working on the Hospitality Catering Services team lacked the firepower of a commercial restaurant oven. Students said it was challenging in the heat of the kitchen to create sweet breads, croissants, ciabatta rolls and cakes that would stay moist.
Thanks to the generosity of Rick Ellingson (’75 marketing), hospitality students are now able to bake in a brand new ALTO-SHAAM combi-oven. As vice president and owner of Bargreen Ellingson, one of the largest multi-service restaurant supply, design, and fabrication companies in the country, Ellingson had surplus inventory that needed a home. A long-time supporter of WSU and the Carson College hospitality program, he contacted Chef Jamie Callison and made arrangements to donate the oven to the hospitality teaching kitchen.
“I appreciate Jamie’s passion for what he does and have the utmost respect for him,” he says. “Jamie is a unique individual who possesses great culinary skill but also has the emotional intelligence and people skills that make him an inspiring teacher. I know thousands of chefs who don’t have this combination.”
The oven features steam and convection cooking modes to accommodate up to 14 full-size food pans much faster than steam or convection alone. The seal in the oven helps with more even cooking and actually helps keep the bakeshop cooler.
“I cannot express how great of an impact this oven has had on my experience so far this year in the bakeshop,” says Chloe Pinto, Hospitality Catering Services pastry lead. “We are so beyond thrilled to be able to work with such high-tech equipment that benefits Hospitality Catering as a whole.”
Pinto says the oven’s steam injection capability makes a huge difference in the moisture and tastiness of the baked goods. Pastry isn’t the only area benefiting from the steam injection feature, she says. The back of house staff is also using it to create moist tender meats for the daily Atrium Café production and events.
Ellingson says his motivation to support the School of Hospitality Business Management stems from his respect for Callison and his belief that investing in the college is incumbent on alumni who are able to do so.
“It was an opportunity to give back to the college and invest in students,” says Ellingson. “The hospitality industry is a difficult business, and it’s important that students have the tools they need to develop a strong work ethic and maturity that will enable them to succeed.”
For more information about how to give to the Carson College of Business, contact Raegan Harvey at 509-335-9448 or firstname.lastname@example.org