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“If we continued to feed our patients unhealthy, processed, fried, fatty foods, then it would ultimately defeat the purpose of trying to improve health,” he said. “Food is medicine, the same as any pill or prescription.” To be able to complete this hospital food transformation, Chef Sauer notes more quality chefs and cooks are needed to keep pushing the food as medicine message forward while increasing the food’s quality and nutritional value. “The more I notice how many other hospitals are hiring quality executive chefs to lead their kitchens and reimagine the food choices, the more I understand that this will be the industry standard very shortly,” he said. “Hospital chef-manager jobs used to be very cushy and with little to no cooking experience required to manage a kitchen. That will no longer be the case in healthcare as people are more and more educated about the food they eat and where the ingredients are coming from… Now is a great time to join a growing and expanding job market that has infinite potential to make a difference in people’s lives.”

This shows that comfort not only comes in a person’s medical care, creating an environment that is healing, but also in the food that can nourish a person’s soul. “[Patients] are probably here after having possibly the worst day of their lives and it’s our goal to make them feel as comfortable as possible through the meals that are being prepared for them,” Chef Sauer said. “That’s why the term ‘comfort food’ is used here so lovingly; to make them have a sense of normalcy in an otherwise abnormal situation for them.” Changing that perspective among the chefs and cooks took some effort. Chef Sauer heard some “that’s not how we do it” and “that’s not going to work here” when he began instituting new cooking techniques and fresher ingredients. “Explaining the ingredients, how we were going to prepare them, how they were different from what we were using before, and how they were fresher and better for our patients played a significant role in getting the cooks onboard with our new food mission,” Chef Sauer explained. “I feel like the healthcare industry is going through a tremendous change in that food is having as much importance as medical care when it is discussed within board room meetings. The foods that we put in our bodies undoubtedly have an effect on the way we heal and respond to treatment, almost like putting high octane gas in your car for better performance.” Chef Sauer is finding that the concept that food is medicine is becoming more ingrained in hospitals.


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