The Big Idea 2014: Partnering for health

susan-bristol

Susan Bristol, R.D.
Aramark Healthcare Director of Food & Nutrition Services/Dietetic Internships
University of Arizona Health Network, Tucson, Ariz. 

When we combined the food and nutrition services departments back in December 2013 and I assumed leadership over foodservices, I was able to use my experience as an R.D. to begin offering more healthy and specialty food options to our retail customers. We had just hired a new vice president of patient experience, Julie Kennedy Oehlert, and we wanted to improve the healthy quality of our meals. We attended a cooking class that Dr. Andrew Weil was doing in the community, and we thought he could help. He is a well-known name in the community and has an outstanding reputation. I had actually met him a few years ago and partnered with him as a dietetic intern. So we approached him and asked if he would work on our patient and retail menus.

The starting point for us was an event that some of our dietetic interns did in our café. On March 5, the food & nutrition services department at the University Campus—the network also has a smaller, South Campus hospital—showcased several of Dr. Weil’s recipes. We served 10 dishes: Hot and Sour Salmon, Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole, Hot and Sour Greens, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Asian Cauliflower, Wild Rice and Mushrooms, Chicken-Farro (Kale) Salad, Vegetarian Chili, Serrano Chili and Cilantro Cornbread and Peach–Blueberry Cobbler. Café sales increased by 15% above average, with total daily sales of $19,500 and 4,700 customers. Customer feedback was excellent, with 100% of those completing a survey indicating they would purchase the items again.

On April 8, Dr. Weil met with the food and nutrition staff to taste-test selected recipes prepared for the patient room service menu. We tried to bring a little of everything to the menu. Recipes selected for the patient menu included Dr. Weil’s famous Tuscan Kale Salad, Curried Cauliflower Soup, Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup topped with a Cilantro Walnut Pesto, Pasta with Tuscan Kale Pesto, Turkey Bolognese and the Peach–Blueberry Cobbler. Aramark Executive Chef Steve Martin worked with his staff to translate the recipes to meet the large volumes produced for the room service patient meals. 

We do 900 to 1,000 room service meals a day, so we use sous vide because we have found that the sous vide method produces the best quality food and most accurate portion control for our patient meals. So we selected Dr. Weil’s recipes based on which ones would work the best with sous vide.

It’s exciting to work with Dr. Weil because he really has a holistic philosophy toward food. He tries to marry food, nutrition, gardening and well-being. It also helps that we have the support of the administration. Our CEO sees the importance of doing this for staff, visitors and patients.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
aquaponics produce

We partnered with a student group interested in aquaponics to build a recirculating fish tank and lettuce growing operation in our Oval Dining Center. The large tanks are stocked with tilapia that live in the water and fertilize lettuce growing in the recirculating water under grow lights. We then harvest the lettuce and use it in our operations. The unit is set up in the dining room where customers can see the science in action, learn about the process and enjoy the fresh lettuce that was just picked.

Ideas and Innovation
fridge system

We installed a remote refrigeration system as part of our cafeteria renovation. The main part of the system is located on the roof and controls all our refrigerated equipment, including the walk-in freezer and coolers, beverage refrigerator, etc. The system allows us to identify problems faster, and the elimination of individual condenser units cuts down on A/C bills as well as noise.

Industry News & Opinion

Students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be served student-grown produce from the campus farm at dining halls this fall, M Live reports.

The dining team received its first batch of produce from UM’s on-campus farm in June, after students received the proper USDA certification to grow, harvest and deliver food to campus dining halls. In order to figure out what produce is needed, students communicate with the dining department weekly, and Michigan Dining purchases items accordingly.

"The students are involved from seed to plate," Executive Chef Frank Turchan...

Sponsored Content
college students eating

From Ovention.

Today’s colleges and universities know they should offer more than a large selection of breakfast cereals in the morning and chicken tenders at lunch to appeal to students. When it comes to what’s trending on campuses, here’s a look at what directors can tune into to boost engagement.

1. Expanded dining hours

Late-night options have long been a popular fixture on college campuses, but if it’s too late, students often choose to venture to off-campus retailers to satisfy their cravings. According to Technomic’s 2017 College & University Consumer Trend...

FSD Resources