Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital, Westerville, Ohio

Creating a warm inviting bistro brings in staff and guests.

Instead of typical cafeteria seating, Bryden Bistro is divided into four “neighborhoods,” with each dining space designed to have its own feel and personality. There are two-tops for eat-and-run customers, booths and tables off the main corridor, and a lounge-type area with leather seating and a flat-screen TV where customers can watch a sporting event or catch up on the news.

Before the construction, says Baker, the dining area featured metal chairs and basic white tables lined up in rows. Now, colors throughout the entire bistro are warm and inviting—rust, teal, brown—with mahogany wood, unique design patterns and light fixtures to distinguish each neighborhood. Mosaic tiles grace the pizza oven and salad bar. Dishware also got a makeover, as Syracuse terracotta, in fern and brown, replaced white plates. Styrofoam is history; the bistro offers real coffee mugs and recyclable soda cups. 

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Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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