Boston Children’s Hospital unveiled its renovated Fresh Food Court on June 29 with a private ribbon cutting ceremony that featured several top celebrity chefs, senior administrators and other VIPs. As part of the festivities, Chef Brendan Pelley of the Fox show “Hell’s Kitchen” and Maneet Chauhan of the Food Network’s “Chopped” spoke about the importance of linking the culinary and healthcare communities together. The chefs also hosted a culinary “Chopped”-style competition between Boston Children’s head chefs and Pelley to break in the space. In addition, Taniya Nayak of “Restaurant Impossible” hosted a fashion show and spoke about the design of the space. (For a gallery of photos from the event, go here >>]
The highlight of the new food court is a culinary demonstration station called “Chef’s Playground,” which will feature different local and celebrity chefs each month who will each create a recipe using locally sourced and sustainable ingredients at the station with patients, families and caregivers.
The goal, says Shawn Goldrick, director of patient support services, is to bridge the gap between the healthcare community and the culinary industry to provide the best food possible for patients and also build strong ties to culinary professionals and companies within the community, while educating patients on healthy food choices.
“When you think about quality food and healthy choices, you typically don’t think of a hospital cafeteria,” he notes. “Our team is trying to change that and revolutionize the culinary industry in healthcare facilities.”
In addition to Chef’s Playground, the venue includes another station called Guilt-Free Grill, which will offer antibiotic-free, locally sourced meat and healthier food options. Both stations are internally developed brands and Goldrick and his team hope to franchise Chef’s Playground into other pediatric hospitals.
The multimillion dollar renovation took five years, plus a year of proactive pre-planning to prepare, but it was completed in less than seven months. The hospital worked with construction manager Suffolk Construction and lean architect Isgenuity to create a functional and forward-thinking space.
The servery feeds over 4,000 people daily and continued to fully operate in conjunction with a pop-up café and custom food truck throughout the entire construction period. Dining team members in purple coats guided patients and families through the space to the locations and answered questions during this period.
Speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony, Boston Children’s President/CEO Sandra Fenwick said, “Our goal was to create an environment where patients, families and visitors feel relaxed and welcome. This is a space that promotes wellness and allows us to bring the culinary community into our world to promote local, healthy, sustainable and clean food.”