* * Anonymous Doc: Hospital "Cuisine" ?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hospital "Cuisine" ?

Someone sent me a bizarre article from The Wall Street Journal about hospitals with "executive chefs" who custom-cook dishes that are healthy for patients, but also delicious-- and designed to deal with the patients' specific challenges (dulled taste buds, etc).

Is this an early April Fools article? Did we suddenly get transported to the future? A world where hospital food isn't awful, utterly incompatible with patient health needs, and reheated from who knows what kind of pre-cooked bags of nonsense the cafeteria is delivered?

The way I know my patients are truly ill is if they're not complaining about the food. Anyone who says they think the food is good, I call for a neuro exam.

They used to serve hospital-catered food at Grand Rounds, but there was a mutiny and now they order the worst pizza imaginable, and it's still ten times better.

The hospitals mentioned in this article should prepare not only for an onslaught of new patients, but a heck of a lot of inquiries from doctors about job opportunities.

Given that we're supposed to be helping patients stay alive, the quality of the food is close to inexcusable.


  1. This was several years ago, but Mt. Zion hospital in San Francisco (when it was an independent hospital, before it was part of UCSF) did have an executive chef whose food was highly acclaimed. My then-boyfriend (who worked there at the time) used to actually eat dinner there on occasion -- it was very good. Hard to believe, but true. Also, California-Pacific Medical Center used to have very good food -- I worked there (again, this was several years ago) and I looked forward to eating lunch there every work day. Now, I also used to work at -- and was a patient at -- UCSF, and the food was unspeakably BAD. I am wondering if teaching hospitals have the bad food, and maybe the regular hospitals have good food in order to attract patients? In any event, yes, there is some delicious hospital food out there. Somewhere. . .

    1. Meant to type that I would join my boyfriend at Mt. Zion for dinner -- just as if we were eating in a restaurant. It was indeed that good.

  2. Mayo does. My dad was privy to great food, fine dining all the time tethered to IV fluids pushing vanco, gento, and some other pseudomonas fighting gunk.

  3. At one hospital I was at they had the patients order whatever they wanted and it was really good. I mean I hear it was...I was too sick to actually eat anything and by the time I was well enough to actually think about possibly ordering something I was going home. I haven't ever had yummy hospital food but I do think its out there, just that every time I have ever been in the hospital I'm either too sick to eat or at the hospital with bad food.

  4. I've never been in a hospital that served food I could eat. I'm not all that fussy, but tasteless, overcooked, inevitably cold food... yuck.

    I bribe one of the ambulatory patients to swipe a wheelchair, and we abscond to the ground floor to patronise the waiting room vending machines.