MU Hospital embraces scratch cooking, technology

New chef working to make menu healthier and tastier.

Sept. 5—Not long ago, the daily special on the room service menu at the University of Missouri Hospital was salmon with lemon and dill sauce, housemade pilaf and freshly steamed broccoli. Rocky Galloway, the supervisor for dining services at University Hospital, has has helped to revamp the menus at the hospital, which has included developing healthier versions of not-so-healthy comfort foods, such as fried chicken. He makes a baked version with a cornflake crust, spiked with chili powder. It got good reviews, Hassinger said, and replaced fried chicken. Although fries are still on the patient menu, they won't be for long. By December, if the funding comes through, the fryers will be out, Hassinger said. "My boss knows it is my top priority."

Galloway is working with dietitians to upgrade hospital food. "We aren't using any prepackaged food, and we are making more from scratch," he said. "And we have daily specials," such as the salmon. The carrots, cauliflower and broccoli are fresh, not frozen, and the chef salads are made to order. The challenge, he said, is cooking within "very strict nutritional guidelines."

He has also embraced technology such as a software system called "Tray Monitor," which follows each order from the time it is taken by the room service operator until it is delivered to the patient. Menus note that all meals are delivered within 45 minutes after placing the order, but Galloway boasts that the average time is now closer to 30 minutes.