The ins and outs of creating delicious meals from limited ingredients are second nature to those working the hospital food service industry. Health care institution kitchens have an immense impact on patient satisfaction, but doctors are one of the most patient-facing hospital staff members. Recently, a number of medical students from the North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center took a vegetarian cooking course, which their instructor, Lenox Hill Hospital’s Robert Graham, MD, hoped would help the future doctors encourage their patients to eat healthier.
Opening the kitchen up
Though the kitchen is usually limited to those who work in food service, it can be beneficial for other hospital staff members to learn about the culinary arts. This may be difficult to do in the institution’s kitchen, which can often be busy and full of cooks who have to create meals on time.
As such, food service directors could think about asking a few of their chefs to teach a few vegetarian cooking classes outside of work and in a satellite or off-site kitchen. This will take a fair amount of coordination, so be prepared to plan out the event. There may be various other departments you need to run the idea by, so take your time working out the details.
In preparation for these courses, food service software can help directors increase their inventory of produce. Additionally, the software can inform the new cooks of the nutritional benefits of each ingredient. You can provide tried and tested recipes that the new chefs can draw inspiration from. Allowing more patient-facing staff members to understand just how great vegetarian dishes can be will likely shift their mentality towards these meatless meals, which can then be shared with patients.
Featuring vegetarian meals
Highlighting the nutritional benefits and delicious flavors of vegetarian courses doesn’t have to be limited to internal practices. Consider featuring a vegetarian day on a regular basis, where new recipes will be introduced. Depending on how often the courses for other hospital staff are held, you can even select a few top dishes to feature in the cafeteria and in patient menus and attribute these tasty meals to the new chefs who crafted them.
The art of working with meatless ingredients doesn’t have to be a mystery to those who don’t work in the kitchens. In fact, educating other individuals on the ease and benefits of meatless dishes will have a great impact on those who take the courses, patients and other diners.