Chefs who make a difference

These 10 chefs are influential not only in their operations but their communities as well.

Daniel Skay
Nutrition Manager/Executive Chef
Parker and Castle Rock Adventist Hospitals
Castle Rock, Colo.

Why Chef Dan?
According to Lisa Poggas, nutrition and environmental services director:

“Dan proudly mentors culinary interns from Johnson & Wales University, as well as dietetic students for foodservice management throughout the country. He takes every opportunity to share his passion for creative culinary delights through cooking demonstrations to breast cancer survivors to speaking with the guests in Manna (the hospital’s) restaurant. His excitement about his specials is palpable.

On Aug. 1, Castle Rock Adventist Hospital opened in the Denver metropolitan area. When we were asked to help design the foodservice for Castle Rock, Chef Dan definitely thought outside the box. He came up with a full-service restaurant concept to help minimize equipment and labor for cost savings. Eventually, he was able to convince the executive team that this would be a win-win concept and he would make it successful.

[The hospital’s] Manna restaurant features produce from our community and kitchen garden with meats and other products from local vendors, such as honey, goat cheese and non-alcoholic Colorado wines.

Chef Dan has developed a reputation throughout the community and Centura (the organization Parker belongs to) for offering the most sublime food. When there are board meetings for Centura, we are the destination hospital due to the caliber of the food. He continually strives to produce the most creative, flavorful and healthy dishes every day for Parker and Castle Rock Adventist Hospitals.”

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
delivery

We offer a food delivery service to students who are too sick to eat at the dining halls. Oftentimes when we’re sick, we want simple, bland food that’s easy to digest. We also include a bottle of water since staying hydrated is super important. Students who have used the sick meal program are very grateful that we offer this service because they don’t have to stress over how they’re going to eat when they’re too sick to come into the dining halls. The program is also important in preventing the spread of illness.

Ideas and Innovation
smoothie

Nurses often mention that at 2 p.m. they are dragging and just trying to get through their 12-hour shift. This winter I will be implementing a 2 p.m. pick-me-up, which will include a smoothie station where they can create their own smoothie to help get them through their shift. It will be filled with energy-boosting ingredients to personalize their own drink, such as bananas, almonds, spinach and even dark chocolate.

Ideas and Innovation
chili

Winter is when our guests frequently crave something comforting and hearty, and chili is great for that. Our plan is to boost guest engagement this winter by inviting them to design a unique chili experience. The guest chooses the type of chili first, then the vessel: bowl, bread or potato. Next, they customize their dish even further by choosing the toppings, which will be categorized as traditional, creamy, crunch or heat. The wild card, crunch and heat categories, are where my team and I will flex our creativity and highlight different flavors, ingredients or techniques.

Ideas and Innovation
new year party

In search of inspiration for this letter, I turned to the one I wrote for January 2017, in which I griped about some trends I wanted to toss in the new year. Twelve months later, the Sriracha trend has calmed down, food trucks seem slightly less pervasive and, while the definition of “clean” eating continues to evolve, it’s not so laser-focused on GMOs. So it seems my predictions were correct, including the one about where I’d be eating on New Year’s Day (though I had no clue my now-fiance would propose to me that night over duck noodle soup).

However, since this year has been...

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