It’s a ‘G’ Thing: Creative chefs cook tasty meals for healing hospital patients

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“We’re preparing 210 pounds of beef short rib," Robert Bosco showed me.

From meat to seafood to veggies, this kitchen is cooking up some tasty meals.

“That’s our roast chicken for the day," Bosco said as he opened the oven.

These chefs are chopping, stirring and baking, not for hungry customers, but for healing patients.

“Today we have fresh salmon, fresh dill and salt free seasoning,” Bosco described.

Robert Bosco is a chef for Northwell Health. He oversees the preparation and execution of more than 5,000 meals a day for three hospitals.

“I try to make that the best part of their day,” he smiled.  “I worked in restaurants for so many years and for me this opened up a whole other part of my career.”

Unlike a restaurant, each person has very specific health and dietary needs.

“A lot of people don’t understand what’s behind it all," Armin Khan said. “It has to be based on a doctor’s prescribed order.”

Armin Khan is the Director of Nutrition and Food Services. She is in charge of every details including what's on the menu.

“We can’t just keep the menu set so we’re always looking to change, we’re looking into organic products things that people in the community are looking for”

Web extra: Armin Khan shares how she first was inspired to get into the field of nutrition

From Kosher and Halal to vegetarian and gluten-free, it can get quite complicated. But, making it much easier is CBORD, a computer system that codes each dish and matches it to the patient's menu options.

“Do people ask for and get seconds?" I asked. "Oh yes!” Khan replied.

Once that's set and the food is cooked, it's time to put it all together.

“We activate the trays, which heats them so that the patients food stays warm,” Gary, one of food preparation staffers, showed us.

Then within 45 minutes, each plate is delivered fresh to every patient. A process they go through three times a day.

“How’s this food?" I asked John, a patient. "It's good, as good as any other place," he said. "Let's try this one more time John, how's this food?" "It’s great!” he laughed.

But what's really separating Northwell, is the attention they give to those who can't swallow traditional, firm foods, providing an array of pureed options.

"They put it in a form so it looks like peas or carrots or the chicken we're serving” Bosco described. "Oh wow, yum, it actually takes like chicken!" I said after trying a few bites.

 

Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi

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