India-inspired menu helps chefs win cooking contest in US

An India-inspired menu at a healthy cooking challenge in the US has won three American hospital chefs the top prize.

The chefs prepared a three-course menu – “Gobi Dumplings”, “Cauliflower Steak Chana Masala, and “Pineapple, Peaches and Meringues” during the Northwell Health’s Fifth Annual Ultimate Healthy Cooking Challenge.

Janisa Freysinet, North Shore University Hospital; Patricia Sobel, Northern Westchester Hospital; and Russell Ficke, Syosset Hospital, said their award winning healthy food was inspired by Indian cooking. They had never professionally cooked together.

As per the terms of the competition held in Great Neck city of New York State, each team had 60 minutes to make tasty, attractive and nutritious meals for the judges to score, and one for the presentation table.

Hospital culinary teams were paired with registered dietitians and interns from North Health hospitals to ensure that the three-course meal must be equal or less than 700 calories, 15 grams of fat and 750 milligrams of sodium.

Teams were given a “surprise protein” – such as halibut, shrimp, chicken and filet mignon, or had the option of selecting a vegetarian protein – around which to build their original three course meal.

“The Ultimate Chef Challenge highlights how our chefs are able to inspire delicious and nutritious meals, not only for our patients but for ourselves,” said Robert E Graham, MD, director of integrative health & wellness at Northwell Health, and one of the competition’s judges.

“We are investing in a culture of health and wellness in order to maintain a healthy work place and workforce and it starts with food,” he said, adding “improving our hospital food is good medicine.”