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Catering team helps give young patients ‘a night to remember’

Photograph courtesy of Stony Brook University Hospital

Each spring, pediatric patients at Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, N.Y., get to enjoy a memorable night of dancing, eating and relaxing at the hospital’s pediatric prom. Around 20 volunteers from the hospital catering team provide food and fun for patients at the annual event.

“The goal is to give these children a night to remember,” says Catering Manager Kevin Daly. “Knowing that we might see some of the same children the following year, it is important to us to reinvent ourselves each year.”

Check In

Photograph courtesy of Stony Brook University Hospital

Planning for the night begins with a theme selected by a prom committee formed by the Department of Pediatrics. Once a theme is chosen, the catering team’s executive chef begins work on a variety of potential dishes. A group of patients is then invited to sample each dish before the final menu is chosen.

This year’s theme, “A Night In Paris,” gave guests the opportunity to enjoy French bread pizza, French dip sliders, french fries, “faux escargot” mushroom caps and a fondue station. A made-to-order crepe station and fried beignets were two particular favorites, Daly says.

Staying in touch

Strong communication is key to the event’s success, Daly says, especially when working with immunocompromised patients who have strict dietary restrictions.

“Maintaining the quality of the food with these restrictions can be a challenge, but it is also a priority,” he says. “Having a plan in place and making sure everyone involved knows this plan helps to ensure the event goes smoothly.”

Leading up to the event, the catering team meets with the prom committee monthly to discuss potential problems, solutions and ideas.

Going above and beyond

The pediatric prom is more than just the food, Daly says. Staff can be seen interacting with patients, asking them to dance and making sure attendees enjoy the night as much as possible.

desserts

Photograph courtesy of Stony Brook University Hospital

This year, for example, a patient mentioned that her favorite food was raspberry cheesecake. Because that wasn’t on the menu, staff ran to the local bakery to pick her up a slice for dessert.

“I cannot stress enough how important this event is for these kids,” Daly says. “All of the energy and time that we put into executing the catering for this event is pure joy.”

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