What’s Cooking for Visitors, Staff?

With the opening of the new North Wing at NorthBay Medical Center comes The Shaw Family Kitchen, which opened for use Oct. 1.

ABOVE: Staff and visitors can enjoy respite in a bright and spacious dining area.
Photo credit: Photographs © 2019 Sasha Moravec

The new nutrition services area includes a 6,000-square foot kitchen and dining area with 60 indoor seats and a patio with 30 outdoor seats.

And with the new cooking and dining facility, comes some changes in the menu options.

Inside the spacious kitchen, cooks can prepare food on a grill, char-broiler and griddle. Food can either be cooked to order, or selected from a “grab and go” section. Hot soups and such can be dished up from a steam table and sandwiches and other chilled items are available from a cold table.

The grill makes a big difference for visitors and staff, said Kathleen Shafer, director of Nutrition Services. “It provides another option and we, of course, kept our deli sandwich bar, also, where they can choose their ingredients and we build the sandwich for them,” she said.

Windows cover one entire wall of the dining area, opening up the room to natural light and a view to outside seating.

The refrigerators and freezers offer more cold storage than was available before and tilting kettles make it easier on staff to stir up soups, for example.

New menu options are also coming soon for patients, each designed to provide more fresh choices and healthy options, said Kathleen.

Nutrition is a very important part of healing. With surgical wounds, skin wounds and just feeding your body, good nutrition can help everybody get better…”
— Kathleen Shafer

“We talked to staff and patients and are really changing things up to add healthier, fresh ingredients. So it will be a healthy menu but also more delicious,” she said, noting that she and her staff spent months going over each item. “So there will be no high fructose corn syrup in the items we serve and we will use more fresh herbs and spices and make sure that it’s simply more delicious.”

Some examples of new menu options that are being developed are: baked oatmeal with berries for breakfast, tacos and burritos, stir fry and chicken soup. There will also be nice vegetarian selections, she said.

For Kathleen, the changes are an important addition to the care of patients at the hospitals.

“Nutrition is a very important part of healing. With surgical wounds, skin wounds and just feeding your body, good nutrition can help everybody get better and get out and get home. And if the food tastes good, the patient is more likely to eat.”

The new menu is also a teaching menu, she said. “We want to include things they will think about adding to their diet when they go home.”

All the upgrades came with plenty of new equipment and staff spent weeks training in advance of October’s opening.

“Focus was on safety and sanitation, the use of new equipment in the kitchen, and how to properly clean food using a state-of-the-art chemical system for the safety and sanitation of food,” explained Miguel Reyna, manager, production and retail nutrition.

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