Meatless competition challenges chefs

Published in FSD Update

The winning team.

For the third year in a row, North Shore-LIJ Health System, in New York, staged its Ultimate Chef Challenge among the system’s 13 healthcare facilities. But this year’s culinary competition had a bit of a twist: The chefs had to create a healthful entrée using tofu, tempeh, seitan or chickpeas.

“It was definitely a challenge,” says Michael Kiley, director of nutrition and dining services at North Shore University Hospital. “When the chefs heard about the protein, some of them said they were scared.”

But the chefs performed like troupers and worked through their fear to come up with an amazing array of dishes, Kiley says.

The winning dish was Seitan Polenta Croquette with Spicy Pesto Sauce, Zucchini Radicchio Salad and Melon Shooter, created by Lyndon Espiritu and Dalton Christopher, of Glen Cove Hospital. Second place went to Forest Hills Hospital for Tempeh-stuffed Eggplant with Carrot Purée and Blackberry Coulis. Huntington Hospital took third for its Raspberry Tofu Blintzes.

“March was National Nutrition Month, and we really wanted to show off the skill sets of our chefs by having them create healthy meatless dishes,” Kiley says. While the creations did not have to be vegan, they did have to meet certain health parameters for calories, fat and sodium. So strict were the rules—a maximum of 500 calories, 15 grams fat and 600 milligrams sodium—that each team had a dietitian assigned to it, writing down the recipes as they were being created and calculating the nutritionals on the spot.

“We really need to be more creative with our vegetarian dishes,” Kiley explains. “The old way was to just give people veggie burgers. We want to serve dishes that can be considered mainstream items because they are great tasting.”

To add a little bit more color to the event—and to emphasize the importance of adding a lot of color to your diet—the teams were each dressed in a different color chef’s coat. Kiley also took those chefs who were unfamiliar with using items like tofu to the Natural Gourmet Institute, in Manhattan, for a quick education.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Six Philadelphia hospitals were honored by the city’s department of public health for healthy food initiatives introduced as part of the local Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program, bizjournals.com reports .

The hospitals each debuted healthy measures to their dining services, such as lowering the cost of water bottles and seltzers, and offering dishes that incorporate local produce. One hospital was also honored for operating its own organic farm.

The facilities that were honored were:

Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Eastern...
Sponsored Content
chili flakes and peppers spicy hot

From Catallia.

When planning your menus, take note: college and university students think spicy is hot.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers age 18-34 find spicy flavors, “extremely appealing,” according to Technomic. And almost 50% of college students surveyed said they would like their schools to offer more ethnic foods and beverages, states a recent Technomic College & University Consumer Trend Report. Translation: they like their food kicked up a notch!

More Options than Ever

“Students of today are all about flavor,” says Steve Mangan, director of dining for...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo is partnering with celebrity chef Robert Irvine in an attempt to provide military communities with healthier meals.

The 10-year partnership will allow Sodexo to access chef Irvine’s knowledge of nutrition and fitness in its aim to benefit the quality of life for military members, the vendor said in a news release.

Sodexo hopes that Irvine’s popularity as the host of Food Network’s "Restaurant: Impossible" will draw attention to its commitment to nutrition, health and well being. Irvine also has a military history himself—before embarking on his culinary career, he...

Industry News & Opinion

The cafeteria at the Smithsonian's new National Museum for African American History and Culture is intended to be an extension of the museum, showcasing stations that offer cuisines from different geographic locations such as the Creole coast and agricultural South, Time reports .

The eatery, Sweet Home Cafe, was set up to highlight the wide range of African-American cuisine, Executive Chef Jerome Grant told Time. When it officially opens later this month, it will serve dishes such as shrimp and grits, pan-roasted oysters and a fried catfish po’boy.

Celebrity chef Carla...

FSD Resources