Dec 1, 2000 | Marmot, Winter 2000

Alfredo Yabut’s recipe for Success…

Food service at Mt. Washington took on a new look in a variety of ways, when the 2000-01 ski season got underway.

Just starting on his second year as Director of Food and Beverage Services, Alfredo Yabut spent part of his summer overseeing renovations to the cafeteria that are designed to streamline service “with a strong emphasis on speed,” he says.

The new kitchen is modeled after both fast food outlets and BC Ferries, with both hot serve and fast serve areas. New equipment and a new configuration should help eliminate the long lineups that skiers previously faced, Yabut says. “Where we experienced lineups last year, we feel confident you won’t see that this year.”

The kitchen has been turned into a sort of assembly line, and Yabut purchased two new deep fryers “because before, people were always waiting for fries.” With a total of five deep fryers, the waits should be eliminated. Some of the “fast food” items being offered include soup and chili. The cafeteria also has a new message board set up by the window, so people needing to meet up with each other can leave a message. The board replaces a little-used cork board that was previously posted. The cafeteria isn’t the only place that Yabut concentrated on when re-examining food service at Mt. Washington. Fireweeds and Fat Teddy’s will also be emphasizing speed in service this winter, he said.

New this year is the Mountain Wok, a Chinese food outlet in the former Marmot Lounge. Yabut and some of his staff examined mall food court formats before coming up with a modified design for this new food outlet.

“We surveyed people and the staff like it because there’s variety,” says Yabut. Mountain Wok offers a total of 12 items on rotation. “for a staff of 600 who eat here every day, it’s a nice little change up.”

Mountain Wok also offers take-out for people staying in the chalets and other mountain accommodations, a first for Mt. Washington. At O-Zone Tubing Park a new service, O-Zone BBQ, will provide hot dogs and hot chocolate as well as marshmallows for people wanting to roast them in the bonfire pit. There is a real emphasis on after-hours food services this year: Fireweeds and Fat Teddy’s are both open after skiing is long finished, and of course the catering service, too.

One would think that juggling six different food outlets would be a daunting task for Yabut, but he says otherwise. “I love it,” says the Ucluelet-born man who managed the restaurant at April Point Lodge and the Wickanninish before coming to Mt. Washington. “The environment is challenging, but the team is very tight, so I get lots of support from every department.

“I’ve always worked at outlets where staff was readily accessible. One you bring it up to a mountain, all the constance I was used to is gone,” he says. One can’t take anything for granted while working in a mountain resort environment, he adds. For example, if a staff member falls ill, it’s a 40-minute commute for a replacement to come up.

In the summer, Yabut says his biggest challenge is running full food and beverage services without the same infrastructure. In the winter he has 130 to 150 people working in the six food outlets, but that’s not the case in the summer. “When you’re dealing with two seasons, you’re looking forward to the next season when the first one is ending.”

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