Wisconsin hospital chef remaking healthcare dining

New name and garden transforming hospital foodservice.

Aug 29—A new executive chef has put bland, boring hospital food is on notice at University of Wisconsin Health Partners Watertown Regional Medical Center.

Hospitals, where people go to feel better, ironically are among the last bastions of institutional food. But this 50-bed hospital is pulling the plug on heat-and-serve chicken, frozen vegetables and prepackaged pudding.

Executive Chef Justin Johnson is on a mission, with the hospital's blessing and considerable financial support. The kitchen soon will undergo state-of-the-art reconstructive surgery to make way for scratch cooking and separate prep areas for vibrant, locally sourced ingredients, in keeping with the ambitious vision Johnson was hired in April to put into action.

For starters, the hospital's food service has been renamed Nourishment.

A new 11,000-square-foot garden beyond the parking lot, at the bottom of a grassy hill, is bursting with late-summer tomatoes - everything from Romas, beefsteak, yellow and red heirloom tomatoes to cherry tomatoes and little yellow pear tomatoes. Among the varieties of peppers ripening near the tomatoes are Pinot Noir, red, yellow and green bell peppers, plus serrano peppers.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association has made public the 2018 recipients of its annual Silver Plate awards.

The nine winners—each of whom was given the top prize in their respective foodservice segment—include four well-known names in noncommercial:

Healthcare: Jim McGrody , director of culinary and nutrition services at UNC Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, N.C. C&U: Dennis Pierce , executive director of dining services at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. B&I: Michiel Bakker , director of global food services for Google K-12: Ken Yant,...
Industry News & Opinion

Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary in Brunswick, Maine, is hosting a mentorship program that brings in local community members to have lunch with second-graders twice a week, The Forecaster reports.

The program is aimed to foster conversation between the students and area adults, and staff say they are happy to have the extra adult supervision during lunch and recess.

Officials would like to find more volunteers to expand the program to the third, fourth and fifth grades in the future.

Read the full story via theforecaster.net .

Ideas and Innovation
buying small

Here’s a stunner for noncommercial operators who work with one big supplier: Smith College buys food from more than 50 different suppliers. And only three of those suppliers sell Smith more than 3% of its food. “We know boutique,” says Andy Cox, director of Dining Services at the Northampton, Mass., school. “There are ways to make it work.”

Adding to Smith’s challenges: Dining Services has 12 kitchens and no central receiving, and works to ensure that 20% of its food is fair, local, humane and/or ecologically sound.

Teamwork between a food buyer and financial systems...

Industry News & Opinion

Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., is celebrating National Nutrition Month by offering free weekly samples of plant-based items , as well as hosting produce-centric events around campus, the Indiana Daily Student reports.

Every Wednesday this month, students will be able to sample such dishes as vegetable vindaloo, lemon-herb quinoa salad, and pistachio and apricot couscous. Some of the items featured have been offered previously on campus, while others are new recipes.

The university has also partnered with a culinary training organization to launch two plant-based...

FSD Resources