By: Merrill Hill, Career Advancement Program Assistant

Oana Gherman has been a Career Advancement Program Participant since March of this year and has been loving every minute of it! In describing her program so far, Oana couldn’t say enough about her experience at the Westchester Country Club. Below she provides a detailed account of everything she has learned.

“A regular day starts with serving breakfast at 7:30 AM during the week and 7:00 AM during the weekends and ends at 11:00 AM.  During this shift we have to set up the terrace for lunch service (at the end of dinner shift everything that’s on tables on the terrace is put away, except the flower pots) and serve regular/continental breakfast.

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The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor services, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner service. I’m learning about all three of them. The picture above was actually taken before one of the breakfast shifts. Beside myself, there are other interns from the Philippines and J-1 Work and Travel students from all over Europe among the regular servers and assistant servers .

We do as much as we can to get ready for the entire day. There is a 30 minute lunch break, a staff meeting before the lunch shift and serving lunch starts at 11:45 AM – 3:00 PM. During lunch we serve a la carte menu.  There is also a small buffet set mainly for the people who play golf or tennis (a more fast paced dining room). Close to the end of the lunch shift we have to set the dining room for the dinner shift that starts at 5:30 PM and ends at 9:00 PM during the week and 9:30 PM during the weekends.

Also, this club offers Internships and Externships for the Culinary Team as well as the Food & Beverage Department. In the picture below, the person on my left is an extern, the other two people pictured are regular morning-shift cooks.

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Before dinner shift starts we have another staff meeting in which the specials of the day are presented to us by the Chef or Sous-Chef. Dinner is a la carte menu only, except for Sunday when we have brunch instead of regular lunch and buffet at dinner. At the end of dinner shift everybody gets the inside dining room ready for the next day and we put everything away from the terrace.”

All this experience has really helped Oana work on her English and to develop her communication and interpersonal skills.  “As of right now, I got the chance to experience a little bit of everything, but there is a lot more to learn about this industry.”

When she’s not at the club, Oana also manages to schedule  excursions  to get the most out of what the USA has to offer. So far, she has been able to attend a performance of Phantom of the Opera of which she said, ” [It] Was an amazing experience that I hope I will be able to repeat before I leave. It was my first time watching a musical. The costumes, the set and the actors, everything was very interesting and beautiful.”  In a few weeks, she will be joining her host company for a day trip to Six Flags Amusement Park and is looking into even more activities to fill the rest of her free time!

So much to do, so little time!