CIA and Vassar Brothers Hospital partner to improve hospital food

Elective course focuses on healthcare foodservice.

March 13—Students at the Culinary Institute of America are learning how to cook for medical communities, like hospitals, nursing homes and senior housing as part of an elective class at the CIA.

"So we're looking at the best way to deliver that food; how to maintain the chemical values of that food so that it reaches the patient in the best quality than it can possibly be" explains Culinary Institute professor, Lynn Eddy.

The students taking the class already have an appetite for changing the status quo of institutional cooking. Just ask Emily Li, a senior at the Culinary Institute.

"I think you can actually get someone to actually want to eat the food at the hospital because every time I was at the hospital I didn't like anything at all,"

That's why Li is eager to soak up lessons from Anthony Fischetti, the executive chef at Vassar Brother's Hospital.

"We have room service which is just like an a la cart restaurant service."

Fischetti has worked at some of the top restaurants in the country an he brings the same prescription for fine dining to the hospital. The emphasis is on fresh.

"The key is fresh food, using fresh herbs."

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