This is hospital food? Michelin-starred chefs transform perceptions of quality at health care facilities

The culinary transformation at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco and Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health in Sleepy Hollow began in 2018, with Michelin-starred executive chef Andrew Cain at the helm.

News 12 Staff

Aug 18, 2023, 9:43 AM

Updated 312 days ago

Share:

When one envisions hospital food, terms such as "gourmet," "organic," and "farm to table" do not typically spring to mind.
Nonetheless, some local hospitals are taking steps to challenge this conventional perception.
The culinary transformation at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco and Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health in Sleepy Hollow began in 2018, with Michelin-starred executive chef Andrew Cain at the helm.
"They aimed to dispel the notion that hospital food is lackluster and transition to higher-quality, healthier fare, acknowledging the integral role of food in wellness and recovery," says Cain.
The menus are diverse, ranging from French toast to swordfish, all presented on China.
To enhance the dining experience, Northwell recently established a collaboration with the Center for Discovery, located in the Catskills region of Sullivan County. This nonprofit organization, situated on an expansive 1,500-acre property, offers health care services to over 1,200 individuals with complex medical conditions and autism spectrum disorders. The center's Thanksgiving Farm spans over 300 certified organic and biodynamic acres, staffed by students and residents.
"By involving individuals in farming, they develop familiarity with the produce. As a result, when these ingredients appear on their plate, they are more inclined to consume them," explains Cesare Casella, Michelin-starred executive chef.
Northwell currently utilizes 8 acres of the center's farmland to supply fresh produce to Northern Westchester and Phelps Hospitals for their menus. This ensures that patients enjoy authentic farm-to-table meals.
"This collaboration is truly exceptional, as it propels us towards cultivating our own vegetables and ingredients. This elevated approach allows us to provide a higher standard of dining to our patients," says Casella.
Northwell intends to expand this partnership, cultivating more acres and delivering fresh organic produce to their other medical facilities. 
Associate Medical Director Richard Stumacher talks about the decision to change the hospital's perspective on food.
Cesare Casella, Michelin Starred and Executive Chef, talks about the partnership between The Center for Discovery and Northern Westchester Hospital.
Executive Director Derek Anderson talks about the hospital efforts to raise the bar when it comes to food.
Executive Chef Andrew Cain shows off a wide variety of dishes off the menu.
Jill Ashbey-Pejovas, a registered dietician and nutritionist at Northern Westchester hospital, explains why healthy eating is important to a patients recovery.
Executive Chef Andrew Cain explains why they go the extra mile to provide patients with quality fresh food.


More from News 12