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Kaiser Permanente Supports Health, Environment with New Plant Based Bowl Series
Many Oregon hospitals are national models for the food they serve their patients and visitors. From meat produced without added antibiotics and hormones to local, organic produce to healthier beverage options, hospitals in our state are working hard to promote the health of individuals and the environment through their kitchens. In recent years there has been an uptick in the quality and diversity of food coming out of hospitals, with fresh seasonal produce, wholegrain options, and dairy without added hormones becoming mainstays on their menus. This is true for Oregon hospitals especially and innovative menu offerings coming out of our region's hospitals continue to grow. Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside is pushing that envelop even further with its new entrée bowls available in their cafeteria.
Wanting to offer more healthful, plant-based options Kaiser Permanente started exploring ideas and taste testing at some of Portland's revered meat-free restaurants. Ideas in hand, Executive Chef Greg Gates and Chef Todd Prince started experimenting with new ingredients, flavor combos, and sauces that would appeal to a varied audience. They came up with the “One Bowl to Rule Them All Series,” eight plant-based bowls, with high nutritional standards that are available once a week in their cafeteria's hot bar line.
The bowls are an international taste experience ranging from the Asian inspired Dragon Bowl to the plantain packed Cuban Bowl. One thing that is similar across all bowls is the concept of “everything from scratch.” That holds true for all parts of the meal from the onsite fermented kimchi in the Dragon Bowl to the two custom sauces available for each entrée.
And the bowls are a huge success. Todd Prince notes that in the 15 years that he has worked at the Kaiser Sunnyside kitchen, he is seeing long time staff that has never eaten in the cafeteria come in to order a bowl. A large part of this success is due to Molly Jennings, Clinical Dietitian and Regional Healthy Picks Specialist, and the marketing efforts she puts behind the bowl series. With weekly email reminders and colorful cafeteria chalkboard displays, staff and visitors are drawn into the café and once they try the bowl, keep coming back for more. Rounding out the team effort is Michael Starrett, Food & Nutrition Services Supervisor and purchaser. With his help, the Food & Nutrition Services team is able to acquire ingredients not commonly found in a hospital kitchen at a price point that makes the bowls a viable option to both sell and purchase.
All in all Kaiser Sunnyside is having tremendous success with their plant-based efforts. And that homemade kimchi? Twenty-five pounds of cabbage was used to make the first recipe and the whole batch sold out in one day.
To learn more about plant-based menu options, meat produced without antibiotics, and local and organic produce in hospital cafeterias, contact Gretchen Miller.
*All photo credit to Molly Jennings, Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside
Tools and Resources
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10th - Friends of Family Farmers InFARMation – 5:30PM-8:30PM (Portland, Oregon – Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison)
24th - – Health Care Without Harm’s Protecting Antibiotics webinar series - Purchasing: Success Stories and Strategies for Hospital Food Service – 11:00AM-12:30 PM (virtual)
8th - Friends of Family Farmers InFARMation – 5:30PM-8:30PM (Portland, Oregon – Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison)
17th – Institutional Food Buyers Alliance Meeting – 9:30-11:30AM (Portland, Oregon – Food Innovation Center, 1207 NW Naito Pkwy.)