Crowned Hospital Chef of the Year

Yup, there’s actually such a title. A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the growth of a new genre – upscale, more palatable cuisine now offered in healthcare facilities.

The typical hospital fare such as jello, soggy sandwiches and tasteless chow that we’re all familiar with, seems to be a thing of the past.  Think Machaca Steak with Sauce and Curried Banana Pierogi. Hospitals are now competing with the likes of five-star hotels and restaurants by installing sushi stations, organic salad bars and pizza ovens.

The National Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management recently launched an annual cooking competition. “We want to show the world that health-care food is so much different. It can be creative. It can dazzle,” said Betty Perez, a society board member and a hospital food administrator in New Jersey. “We have chefs that can compete with the best of them.”

However, hospital chefs must play by different rules than their glitzy restaurant counterparts. Their creative offerings must be in tune with doctors orders, as well as nutritionists and cost-sensitive food administrators.

600 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 1,000 milligrams of sodium were the max for each contest dish and the production cost per dish could not exceed $5.

So pass the Green Apple-Jicama Slaw and enjoy your stay.

30. September 2009 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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