Last Thursday afternoon, Peter Dougenik, a cook in the Lowell House dining hall, moved quickly and expertly through his newly-renovated kitchen area, preparing for dinner.
"This place is up and running, and it's running pretty good," he says as he slides a tray of chicken breasts into the oven. "There hasn't been a major difference. It's the same basic menu, the same basic job. Everything went smooth."
Dougenik's nonchalance comes in sharp contrast to the upheaval experienced by staff in Eliot and Kirkland Houses as they dealt with a similar remodeling project a year ago. Workers there said mechanical failures, increased physical labor and adjusting to an entirely new workspace were taking their toll on staff morale and sanity.
Things haven't been perfect following the renovation of the Lowell and Winthrop House dining halls this summer, but managers and staff say the transition has been considerably smoother--thanks mostly to an extra year's worth of experience getting a new dining hall up and running.
"Every time you start a new place, you have similar difficulties," says Michael Kann, chief of residential dining for Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS). "But having Eliot and Kirkland behind us was very good. Forewarning is half the battle."
No Way to Know
"There was no way to put them through what it would be like," he says.
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