Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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S hawn Goldrick is on a mission to enhance the quality of healthcare foodservice, not just at Boston Children's Hospital, but to inspire change across the industry. While the in-room patient food is handled by another department, the senior director of support services at the hospi- tal has been at the forefront of improving culinary experiences for patients and their families, as well as for hospital employees. A centerpiece of this effort is the hospital 's Chef 's Playground station, a foodservice venue that BCH added in 2015 during a cafeteria remodel. Chef 's Playground serves mul- tiple functions, including providing a space for food activities— such as decorating cupcakes—for the young patients, and as a venue for monthly "Parents Night Out" dinners for the families of the children. It serves as a cooking station during the high- volume lunch period for employees and visitors, but transforms into a children's learning center in the afternoon. Patients able to do so, are brought in for culinary learning experiences and activities, such as a recent demonstration on making ice cream using liquid nitrogen. The Parents' Night Out dinners feature guest chefs, includ- ing local chefs from the Boston area and chefs from culinary school Johnson & Wales in nearby Providence, R.I. Local celeb- rity guest chefs have included former "Top Chef " contestant Tiffani Faison, whose Sweet Cheeks barbecue restaurant is right near the hospital, and Ming Tsai, who is known for his work advocating for a cure for allergies and is host of the "Simply Ming" cooking show on American Public Television. The Chef 's Playground becomes an exhibition kitchen for these monthly events, complete with demonstration screens that create a learning experience for diners while they are watching their food being prepared. The meals are always centered around local, sustainable foods, within the overarching principles of "wellness, innovation, and nutrition," or WIN, that the BCH foodservice program embraces. The venue hosts about 10 to 15 couples each month for these events. "Our goal is to use food as a vehicle to provide a tremendous experience, help them feel better about where they are, and to help them 'de-stress,'" says Goldrick. The hospital has also created a Culinary Academy, through which parents can learn about gluten-free cooking and other topics. "We are able to demonstrate that the [negative] idea of 'hospital food' is a thing of the past," says Goldrick. "We feel that Boston Children's and the team that we have here are striving to demonstrate what can be done—and how things should be done—in healthcare. Chef 's Playground gives us the vehicle to showcase what we feel hospital food really should be." Nutrition and sustainability are key elements of the food- service offering at BCH, which is at the vanguard of plant-based eating among hospitals in the country. It works with organiza- tions such as Health Care Without Harm, which promotes sustainability in the hospital industry, and representatives from the hospital have also presented at CleanMed, a conference that promotes sustainable practices in healthcare. Goldrick says that although healthcare foodservice facili- ties tend to have constraints around their budgets that some- times limit how innovative they can be, he is hoping that if enough hospitals push for high-quality, healthy, sustainable menus, that suppliers and contract management companies will get on board and transform the industry. "We want to be able to show these other hospitals and organizations that this is the direction that we feel strongly that healthcare foodservice should be going," Goldrick says. 5 BOS TON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Redef ining Hospital Fare The centerpiece of Boston Children's Hospital's reimagined foodservice offerings is the Chef's Playground, which serves as a space for food activities like decorating cupcakes and monthly guest-chef–hosted Parents' Night Out dinners for families whose children are patients. PHOTOS: BOSTON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL Mark Hamstra is a New York City-based freelance writer. 32 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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