Ozark Inn gives Airmen food for thought

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cody H. Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Black and white retro tiles spread across the floor. Lights illuminate food displays leading to the kitchen door. Stainless steel tables, ovens, freezers, bowls, pans and carts give the kitchen a silver shimmer. Airmen and civilians, carrying dishes of food, rush through steam seeping from an assortment of machines. Rush is one word that could describe the controlled chaos taking place. This is the typical lunch scene at the 509th Force Support Squadron's Ozark Inn.

The Ozark Inn has more than 60 food services Airmen and civilian employees who provide meals to Whiteman members every day.

"Our main purpose here is to take care of the dorm Airmen," said Master Sgt. Robert Hale, 509th FSS. "We also support groups such as ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) and retirees."

The dining facility has three shifts working 24/7 to provide meals to an average of more than 3,000 people each week. The inn maintains a bank of more than 400 recipes supporting a 28-day cycled schedule.

With the amount of recipes used and number of personnel supported by the inn, Airmen need to have extensive culinary knowledge.

Staff Sgt. Angela Gooden, 509th FSS Ozark Inn training manager, keeps food services Airmen up-to-date on knowledge surrounding all aspects of the facility.

"I ensure all Airmen know how to cook through use of recipe cards, equipment, production logs, line set-up and temperature checks," said Sergeant Gooden.

Along with training, standards of cleanliness are taught. Health inspectors check the inn once a month to ensure the facility is following health regulations. Sergeant Gooden said there is a lot done to maintain an inspection-ready and healthy facility.

"The quality of our facility and the food it serves starts with dating stock, sanitation, picking-up trash, maintaining freezer and oven temperatures and self inspections," she said.

Airmen with this knowledge help the dining facility operations run smoothly.

Working through the rush with a variety of food, never-ending preparation, and a great care for quality, the Ozark Inn dedicates its services to Whiteman.