Today for Staff Spotlight we’re sitting down with Shawn Loving, Certified Master Chef and Culinary Arts Department Chair. Chef Loving had a busy and interesting summer, bringing back some ideas to implement in his department.
Schoolcraft College: Hello, Chef Loving. When people ask what you did on your summer “vacation” in 2020, you will have quite a story – and stories. Please tell us how you came to support the culinary efforts of the NBA as the league restarted its season in Orlando, Florida, this summer.
Chef Loving: It’s very difficult to look at 2020 and its summer as any form of vacation but instead as a challenge. Going to Orlando to support the NBA was through USA Basketball, which is through many executives who cross both leagues in order to have success. I was originally scheduled to be in Tokyo for the Olympics during the summer of 2020, but obviously with the pandemic that changed.
Although there is a successful feeling looking at the accomplishment of participating in the NBA bubble, I look at it more as the learning experience that included eye-opening technology that was used in order to keep each player safe, as well as everyone surrounding, including staff and support people.
SC: You have a long and successful association with the NBA, the Olympics and other international basketball events. Please tell us how all of that came about and what some of the challenges are.
Chef Loving: I became involved with the Olympics and the NBA through the many players that I cooked for individually and privately for as a personal chef. This included specific commercial shoots along with launching campaigns for Nike and the Air Jordan brand. My introduction to USA Basketball was created through these relationships and players. This all began with the Detroit Pistons organization during the championship years and playoff runs with the last team’s success.
SC: You are a proud alumnus of Schoolcraft College. Please tell us a little about your education, your career at Schoolcraft College (and beyond) and how you came to be our Culinary Arts Department Chair.
Chef Loving: I graduated from the Culinary Arts Program in 1991. My education began at Golightly Vocational School in Detroit and I proceeded to receive a scholarship for my education here at Schoolcraft. After years of working out of state to gain experience and knowledge, I always yearned and desired to return to Michigan after my years in the industry.
Along with the growth of becoming a chef, I wanted to return back to where things began and, of course, be able to give back to the future generations of culinary students. This is the only way that an occupation such as culinary can remain not only current, but also a sustainable path towards continued excellence. Schoolcraft has always provided that platform for its instruction and I just wanted to join and give back in that same way.
SC: Teaching a discipline like Culinary Arts must be incredibly challenging during the coronavirus pandemic. Please tell us what your department is doing.
Chef Loving: The culinary team, here in my department, has done a phenomenal job and that is whom I always want celebrated! I could not be more proud of the resilience that they’ve put forth with such a difficult challenge of hands-on participation, which was mixed with anxiety and the unknowns day to day.
There are many things that we were able to adopt from my experience in Orlando to implement areas of consistency. This includes Individual lab isolation - no crossing over to individual labs. We referred to this as creating our own individual bubbles within each classroom. Every lab is sterilized with the same products we used in Orlando for safety and no lab is to be entered until it is fully sterilized in that manner.
We also created a daily temperature check-in process, which is the second tier after checking in with Schoolcraft College’s normal policy and procedure. We also had to adjust our attendance policy, along with notification from the students at all times. Lastly, no general public intermixing with our hospitality service, but allowing our JC Café to become our personal storefront for Café operations. “Fueling Schoolcraft” is our target market at this point so that we don’t intermix with the public daily.
SC: What is one thing you want students to know about our Culinary Arts Department?
Chef Loving: Every instructor’s passionate for the craft and we never shortchange the tradition of excellence based on modern new ways of cooking versus the fundamentals.
SC: Thank you, Chef Loving. If students have questions or need further information, what resources are available?
Chef Loving: Potential students can refer to the Schoolcraft College website to sign up for a Culinary Arts tour to learn more about our program offerings. They can also email the department at email@example.com or call 734-462-4423.