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Big Apple Healthcare Culinary Challenge
Judges make their selections at the 5th Annual Big Apple Healthcare Culinary Challenge.

Big Challenge in the Big Apple

Three hospitals face off in HFAA/AHF Culinary Challenge.

The mystery ingredient was pork loin, the time was set at 60 minutes, and the rules of engagement included creating a recipe fit for today’s food-savvy healthcare dining clientele and staying grounded in the missions of health and healing.

A large audience turned out for the 5th Annual Big Apple Healthcare Culinary Challenge, which featured returning champion NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital competing against New York Methodist Hospital and St. Charles Hospital. 

“The aroma of spices in the air, along with the excitement and anticipation at the event, tempered with humor under stress, sent the message that healthcare is ‘in it to win it,’” says Cecille P. Agustin, MS, RD, CDN, HFAA GNY board member and education committee chairperson, describing the event.

The event was presented by the Healthcare Foodservice Administrators Association of Greater New York (HFAA) and the Greater New York Chapter of AHF (Association of Healthcare Foodservice).

Barry Kriesberg, VP of Administration at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, emceed the event, which took place at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), New York. The panel of three judges (ICE Chef Michael Laiskonis and ICE School Director Richard Simpson, and Chef Michael Salvatore of SYSCO) rated the teams not only on nutrition and culinary artistry, but also aspects of sanitation, teamwork and work flow—essential elements in real-life healthcare settings.

All teams prepared three dishes in the allotted time: an appetizer, a salad and an entrée. Each dish had to feature pork loin.

Scores were close, but NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital took the top trophy for another year. The team was led by Food and Nutrition Services Director Michael C. Williams, MBA, RD, CDN; and included Senior Executive Chef Ross Posmentier; Amenity Chef Hasan Culver; and Executive Chef Miriam Zamparelli.

"Chefs Miriam, Ross and Hasan were able to pull from their best experiences and utilize pork loin featuring different cuisines," Williams says. "Even though there was only an hour to cook, the chefs were able to not only stuff one of the loins but also to make risotto."


Here are the winning world-flavor-inspired plates that the team created:

-Appetizer: Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Grilled String Beans

-Salad: Grilled BBQ Vietnamese Pork Loin over Mixed Greens with Aromatic Herbs, Mango and Snow Peas

-Entrée: Middle Eastern Spiced Pork Loin over Spring Vegetable Risotto and Cumin Roasted Vegetables

The winning team received a trophy, a knife set and a scholarship grant to attend the AHF National Conference in June in New Orleans.

1st Runner Up honors went to the New York Methodist Hospital Team, led by Food and Nutrition Services Director Maura Doran, RD; and included Executive Chef Jack Wolfe; Cook Michael Vigo and Cook Tiffini Ellis. The 2nd Runner Up team was the St. Charles Hospital team, led by Food and Nutrition Services Director Stephanie Giraulo, MBA, RD, CDN; and included Chef Bill Dougherty; Chef Kim Marie Vargas and Chef Mahindranath Maraj.

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