Lubys Chefs Table
Young hospital patients in a Luby's kitchen.

Child's Play

Luby’s brings kid patients into the hospital kitchen for some cooking fun.

It’s bad enough to be an adult stuck in a hospital. Try being a kid. You want to be active, to socialize, to keep moving, but you’re confined.

Hospitals—especially children’s hospitals—make every effort to ensure that some daily activities are available, but there’s always room for more.

That's a need one foodservice contractor decided to address with a program called Chef’s Table. It brings kids (and their families) who are able to do so out of the ward and into the kitchen for activities such as decorating and baking cupcakes, topping pizzas and making jello molds.

“We were looking for a way to provide extra value to our hospital clients,” says Todd Coutee, senior vice president of operations for Luby's. “We asked, ‘How can we help children occupy themselves and keep their minds on other things than their illnesses.”

The answer was Chef’s Table, developed by Luby’s chefs and launched about a year ago. Currently, it's been implemented in three Luby’s healthcare accounts.

Onsite chefs (and sometimes guest chefs from other facilities) work with the kids and families to make it a fun (and even educational) time. The event typically involves a half dozen to a dozen kids and family members.

The biggest challenge? “You have to watch what they put on those pizzas,” Coutee laughs. “Kids come up with the darndest combinations…”