Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography
When it comes to dining, we often glance at a menu, patiently wait with a growling stomach and then devour what is soon placed in front of us. However, many of us don’t quite understand all that goes on behind the scenes and how these delicious dishes get from point A to point Belly. We talked with a variety of chefs throughout the area and let them give us a peek into a day in their lives. Their culinary delights don’t just appear out of thin air and should not be treated as such. Join us in exploring what it really takes to be able to don a chef’s apron.
Prairie Roots Food Co-op
1213 Northern Pacific Ave Suite 100, Fargo
About Prairie Roots Food Co-op
Aptly named, Prairie Roots Food Co-Op embraces all that our local prairie has to offer by providing downtown Fargo with locally harvested or prepared foods. Providing a mix of natural and organic foods, you can gather your groceries here or enjoy their hot bar of ready-to-eat dishes.
New to Prairie Roots Co-Op, but an 11 year veteran of the Fargo area is Joey Haynes. Growing up with an Air Force father and moving around from San Antonio to Grand Forks to Fargo, and many places in between, Haynes is used to bouncing around a bit. After finishing college at NDSU, he dove right into the food world. His resume includes working in the bakery at Hornbacher’s, helping open all the Panera’s in North Dakota, being head chef at Vinyl Taco when it opened, then opening his own Green House Cafe. Since August, however, Haynes has taken on the new deli manager and chef role at Prairie Roots Food Co-Op.
With Prairie Roots only being just over a year old, Haynes is taking on this position as a way to bring in some fresh ideas and provide some great dishes. Haynes noted that lots of people stop by the Co-Op for groceries and produce, but often breeze past the hot food bar and deli section. He wants to change that and give customers more and more options for tasty foods, especially vegan items.
“Since it’s a hot bar and it’s serve-yourself, there tends to be a lot more comfort foods and home cooked type meals here. It’ll be nice to expand on because a lot of people don’t have time to cook anymore,” said Haynes. He intends to include some favorites, such as the Green House Cafe vegan mac and cheese, to allow shoppers to have access to good, quick bites. “It’ll fill you up, it’ll taste good and you won’t feel like crap afterward,” said Haynes.
A Day In The Life
6:00 AM: Wake up. Take out our dog, Rooper, while I drink a glass of lemon water. Then I take Rooper back inside, wake up my wife, Abby, and tell her bye for the day. She works at 7am, most days. I also check emails and our employer phone app for anything urgent.
6:15 AM: Go work out. I feel like I need to work out before work almost every day, or else my mind is a mess while I am in the kitchen.
7:30 AM: Get ready and leave for work.
8:00 AM: Look at our Grab & Go case for holes and check with our prep cook, Roxy, to make sure all is going well. Help with whatever needs to be done. Make coffee and breakfast sandwiches, as needed.
10:00 AM: Start to set up for lunch. We have a hot food bar, salad bar and daily soups. Everything is fresh, so timing changes according to the daily menu, but it is important to give yourself enough time.
11:00 AM-2:00 PM: Lunchtime. Working a weigh and pay food bar is much different from restaurants. Rather than waiting on orders to come back to the kitchen, we have to keep a constant eye on the bar to stay ahead of daily demand. We don’t keep back up items warm, because we want to keep everything as fresh as possible, so we have to make sure we are starting items well before they run out.
2:00 PM-4:30 PM: Our hot bar is open the whole day, 11am-7pm, but this time is generally a bit slower. So, this is when I try to get to all of my meetings and phone calls. Working at a co-op is great because we work with so many local food vendors, but of course, everyone’s schedule is different, so it gets tricky sometimes. In general, everyone is very flexible and great to work with.
4:30 PM: Make sure the hot bar and salad bar are nice and full for dinner and make a night prep list for the closing cook.
5:00 PM: Ask around the co-op to see if anyone else needs help with any miscellaneous tasks. I love the environment here, because no matter what part of the store you work in, everyone is willing to lend a hand.
5:30 PM-6:00 PM: Get home and make dinner for Abby and I.
6:00 PM -10:00 PM: I rarely sit down in a day, but if I do, it’s during this time to watch one of our favorite shows. Otherwise, I do some yard work or housework, or we go find some live music to enjoy while I bounce recipe ideas off of Abby. Abby doesn’t cook too much, but when she does, it’s great, and she is great at telling me how appealing an idea sounds before I even try it, which is almost as important as how it tastes.
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