Hospital chef rejects the term "hospital food"

Kaiser Permanente encourages chef-led kitchens at Oregon hospitals.

March 14—Baked salmon with blood orange salsa. Pho. Smoked tomato ragu over roasted red bell pepper ravioli.

All those dishes prepared in a chef-led kitchen with local ingredients. At a hospital.

That’s right, Kaiser Permanente Northwest is breaking the stereotype at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas and will do the same when it opens Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro in 2013.

“In the past, no one who could choose to go elsewhere would eat at a hospital,” said Greg Gates, executive chef at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center. “But we have people who eat here regularly for no reason other than they like the food.”

Sunnyside is at the forefront of a growing movement by hospitals to let executive chefs lead culinary services.

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The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

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