Diane Imrie is DASH's First Food Hero
Dash Recipes - November 9, 2010
By Joanna Prisco
Great hospital food is no longer an impossible dream. At Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt., nutritional director Diane Imrie has created an innovative program for feeding patients and visitors. Here’s why she’s Dash’s first food hero:
So what’s the secret to great hospital food?
We have a team of chefs who cook everything fresh to order using mostly local ingredients. The cafeteria offers the best deal around, like grilled salmon with pesto, a vegetable, and rice for less than $6, so it’s always busy.
How does this work for the patients?
They choose from a menu, as if it’s room service, and their food is cooked fresh to order. They can even get homemade chicken broth (our chef decided to make it when we started buying whole chickens, not boneless parts, from a local farmer).
What inspired you to make changes?
Food is an integral part of prevention and healing. This year, we put in a rooftop garden [at right] where patients can stroll. The labels on the vegetables and fruits explain, for example, why a tomato or a plum is good for you. There’s a kids’ tasting garden, too. They can eat anything they pick.
How does this affect the bottom line?
Costs have gone up, but revenue has gone up quicker, so it’s been very profitable. Plus by buying food from local farmers, we put more than $1 million a year back into our community. That keeps people healthy because they have jobs!
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