Hudson Valley Hospital Center opens teaching kitchen

The teaching kitchen, along with an organic garden, are part of the Healthy Harvest program, which teaches patients and community members healthier lifestyle changes.

HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y.—“We use it on fish,” chef Peter X. Kelly said, when shown a leafy amaranth plant in the organic garden at Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor. “Lightly cooked,” said Kelly, the owner of Xaviars Restaurant Group, which operates four restaurants in Westchester and Rockland counties.

In an immaculate white chef’s coat, he was dressed for the kitchen — and for the cameras that followed him on his July 21 appearance at the hospital.

The well-known chef has brought his name and network of contacts in the area’s restaurant industry to the service of Hudson Valley Hospital Center. He appeared with U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, a Democrat from Harrison and ranking member on the House appropriations committee, and their host, Hudson Valley Hospital Center President John C. Federspiel, to formally open the Chef Peter X. Kelly Teaching Kitchen at Dempsey House, a converted farmhouse on hospital property.

The teaching kitchen and nearby organic garden are part of Healthy Harvest, a 2-year-old initiative by hospital staff to teach patients and members of the community to better manage their health and thereby reduce health care costs with changes in diet and lifestyle. The prevention initiative also includes a twice-weekly farmers market and an institutional food-service contractor that aims to source one-fifth of the hospital’s produce and other foods from distributors, farms and artisanal businesses in the region.

Still a fledgling enterprise, the farm-to-hospital food chain snagged this summer when the hospital’s food service contractor dropped a produce distributor in the Hudson Valley and replaced it with one in Hartford, Conn., as local supplier.

The hospital garden, where cancer patients and their families are encouraged to visit and work and share in its bounty, opened in 2012, said hospital spokeswoman Victoria Hochman. “It was a lot of community effort,” she said. “The kitchen finally caught up with it.”

Designed free of charge by Joseph Pallante, an architect specializing in health care facilities and principal of Pallante Design L.L.C. in Newark, N.J., the teaching kitchen is used by classes that offer general instruction and specific cooking lessons for diabetics, cancer and heart patients, breastfeeding mothers and persons with gluten sensitivities. Kelly at the official opening was joined by five members of the hospital’s Young Chefs of the Hudson Valley, a program for at-risk middle school students to replace bad eating habits with healthy ones through cooking classes and gardening.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
teamwork pack

As summer begins to fade and vacation season comes to a close, it’s time to start thinking about revitalizing staffers’ connections to one another . It’s certainly no secret in the Winsight offices that I’m a bit of a social butterfly, which, in turn, means I’m a rockstar at team building. Can you spot the inter-office activity I haven’t organized from the list below?

• Breakfast Sandwich Fridays: Co-workers rotate responsibility of providing ingredients for customizable sandwiches. Mimosas may have been involved. • “Sound of Music” Soundtrack Singalong Thursdays. The majority of...

Industry News & Opinion
k-12

The School Nutrition Foundation —the School Nutrition Association’s philanthropic sibling—and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign have partnered to launch an initiative called Schools as Nutrition Hubs.

“No Kid Hungry really sees schools as a critical place in the fight against childhood hunger,” says Laura Hatch, director of national partnerships for No Kid Hungry. “Schools are really a no-brainer because they have the infrastructure, they have the experience, it’s a trusted place for families. And being able to maximize their programs and maximize the federal...

Ideas and Innovation
walk-in cooler

The walk-in cooler can serve as a gathering place for more than just produce. When temperatures rise, staff at Empire State South restaurant in Atlanta host meetings in the walk-in and make occasional trips to hang out throughout the day to beat the back-of-house heat.

Menu Development
college students eating

Taste may reign supreme when college students choose their next snack, but operators should also pay attention to factors such as price and portion size. Here are the most important attributes students consider when choosing snacks, according to Technomic’s 2017 College and University Consumer Trend Report .

Taste: 78%

Ability to satisfy my appetite between meals: 67%

Price: 64%

Portion size: 54%

Familiarity: 46%

Overall nutrition value: 40%

Protein content: 36%

All-natural ingredients: 29%

Fiber content: 27%

...

FSD Resources