Andrew Weil, MD, founder and director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, will prepare his Tuscan kale salad and sample his own recipes, prepared by hospital chefs, that are soon to be included on the inpatient room service menu at the University of Arizona Medical Center on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 10 to 11 a.m., in the UAMC - University Campus Café.
The recipes are drawn from Dr. Weil’s 2012 cookbook “True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure,” which he co-wrote with business partner and restaurateur Sam Fox and executive chef Michael Stebner. Fox, Stebner and Dr. Weil have opened two True Food Kitchens in Phoenix and are scouting out another restaurant site in Tucson.
“A hospital may think they can’t serve gourmet health food such as this, but they can,” said Julie Kennedy Oehlert, RN, UAMC vice president of Patient Experience. “Hospitals shy away from it because they think it’s too difficult or too fussy. But it’s not – and we’re going to prove that.”
The idea for the collaboration between UAMC and Dr. Weil – the first of its kind between Dr. Weil and a hospital – originated from a cooking class offered last fall attended by Kennedy Oehlert and Susan Bristol, RD, UAMC/Aramark director of Food & Nutrition Services and Dietetic Internships.
The pair took the class expressly to approach Dr. Weil about integrating healthier food options into hospital meals. This resulted in UAMC dietetic interns presenting several of Dr. Weil’s recipes for the University Campus cafeteria’s March 5 lunch menu with the theme “Prescribing a Healthier You,” which was a big hit among hospital staff, patients and visitors.
Bristol said feedback from the dietetic intern meals helped narrow menu choices and helped determine how well they could be mass produced and still retain their nutritional and flavor appeal.
“We were able to see what was popular,” Bristol said. “But preparing meals for thousands is vastly different from cooking for four people at a restaurant or at a home. We want to make sure we can present them as healthful meals on that scale, too, and stay true to the recipes.”
The aim is to dispel notions that hospital food is less appealing or healthy food devoid of flavor, she said. The UAMC Café, for instance, includes a Cooking Light station and a sushi bar as well as organic, vegetarian and gluten-free food options. Dr. Weil will prepare his signature Tuscan kale salad with UAMC Executive Chef Steve Martin and Registered Dietitian Chef Ashley Munro.
Items being presented Tuesday for inclusion among inpatient menu options are: Tuscan kale salad; Tuscan kale pesto; wild salmon with a miso, lime and ginger glaze and two soups – curried cauliflower and roasted winter squash with apple. They’ll also be available at UAMC - South Campus. More of Dr. Weil’s recipes will be incorporated in the retail menu for cafeteria choices at both campuses soon.
About the University of Arizona Medical Center
The University of Arizona Medical Center - University Campus along with its sister hospital, UAMC - South Campus, are part of the University of Arizona Health Network – Arizona's premier academic medical network. UAHN also includes Diamond Children's, the UA Cancer Center - North Campus and Orange Grove Campus, dozens of clinics, the University of Arizona Health Plans and the University of Arizona Physicians –the practice plan for faculty physicians of the UA College of Medicine. University Campus is Southern Arizona’s only Level 1 Trauma Center. It’s consistently listed among the nation’s top hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s prestigious “Best Hospitals” rankings. In 2014, UAMC also was named one of Becker's Hospital Review's 100 Great Hospitals. For appointments or further information, please visit uahealth.com.
About the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine
The University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) is leading a transformation in health care by creating, educating and actively supporting a community that embodies the philosophy and practice of healing-oriented medicine. AzCIM is internationally recognized for its evidence-based clinical practice, innovative educational programs, and research that substantiates the field of integrative medicine and influences public policy. Since its creation in 1994, its vision of making integrative care available to all is being realized worldwide. Center graduates are guiding more than one million patients to take a greater role in their health and healing. To learn more, please visit www.azcim.org