CHICAGO, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- With audience members cheering and famous Chicago chefs watching their every move, the competition was like a pressure cooker for the finalists at Consorta's Battle of the Hospital Chefs.
Chef William Read, however, was as cool as the organic cucumbers he serves the patients at Saint Mary's Health Care in Grand Rapids, Mich. Chef Read won the event's Gold Chef Award, becoming the reigning champion of chefs among the nearly 550 Consorta member hospitals.
Chef Read said, "It is a real honor to be named the Champion Hospital Chef, as I was up against some very strong competition. Hospital food isn't what it once was. We chefs want our patients and customers to hold our menus in the same high regard as they do their favorite restaurants. They deserve healthy options and fresh flavors, and that's what we deliver."
Chef Read's winning meal was "Macadamia Crusted Tilapia with Sweet Soy Reduction & Mint Sauce; Spicy Cucumber Slaw; Sesame Soba Noodle Salad; and Tofu-Berry Smoothie."
Gourmet meals are a growing trend in hospitals, according to John W. Strong, President and CEO, Consorta. "Chefs are incorporating locally-grown foods and unique pairings into their menus, with recipes that rival those found in great restaurants. These heart-healthy meals are low in fat and sodium but full of taste."
Chef Mark Abbott from St. Mary's Healthcare System, Athens, Ga. received the Silver Chef Award and Chef David Rensi from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., received the Bronze Chef Award.
Some of Chicago's top chefs judged the Iron Chef-style competition. Chef/restaurateurs Ina Pinkney, Ina's, and Jimmy Bannos, Heaven on Seven, commented the recipes were so good they'd serve any of the finalists' meals in their restaurants.
The American Heart Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research
Foundation will receive cash donations in Chef Read's name. Catholic
Charities "Hearts for the Homeless
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