St. Jude’s FSD makes James Beard history

In May, Miles McMath, director of culinary operations at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tenn., made history when he became the first hospital chef to cook at the famous James Beard House, in New York. McMath was part of a contingent of chefs that brought Made In Memphis to James Beard.

“It wasn’t until we got to the James Beard House that they confirmed that I was the first hospital chef. I had always wanted to cook [there] and knowing that we were the first hospital was such an honor,” McMath says.

The team of eight chefs prepared a six-course meal, along with a variety of hors d’oeuvres. McMath prepared Creole Bronzed Lemon Fish with Butterbean Farrotto and Sauce Ravigote, topped with Fried Soft-shell Crawfish. His hors d’ouevres contribution was Boudin Beignets, the iconic New Orleans doughnut stuffed with a Boudin cheese mixture and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

McMath added that he wants to use his involvement at the James Beard House to promote his department’s commitment to sustainability. “I think this puts more momentum behind us to get our message out about the importance of sustainability,” he says. “It also has helped open some doors and relationships that will help us down the road.”

More From FoodService Director

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...

FSD Resources