News Details

2021 NFEF Award Recipients Announced

Published on

2021 Foodservice Department of the Year Award – Arkansas Heart Hospital

Arkansas Heart Hospital

Arkansas Heart Hospital has earned the NFEF’s 2021 Foodservice Department of the Year Award. AHH is the premiere cardiac hospital in Arkansas. Beyond Cardiac Care, also known as a hospital that delivers outstanding care overall for the complete patient experience.
The culinary staff of Arkansas Heart Hospital is known to deliver the same care through high-quality, five-star meal service using fresh and exciting menu options daily. The AHH culinary team also oversees various operations including inpatient tray line, the café, gift shop, food truck, nutrition pods, and catering events, all while communicating and working together throughout the day to ensure their department is running at full operating power.
Laura Walters, MS, CDM, CFPP, Director of Culinary shares, “Our team goes above and beyond each day and has ownership and accountability in our department.” In 2021, after the new hospital was recently built, the team pulled together to set up the kitchen and worked through the processes beforehand to help make opening day run smoothly. They demonstrate teamwork through planning, strategizing, and communicating effectively to cover all areas, ensuring everyone is taken care of all hours of the day. Inspections were passed with flying colors and each staff member learned much throughout the process across several hours of training and educating one another to run a successful kitchen and operation.
Through teamwork and innovation, the culinary staff opened a 24-hour, self-service café in their new hospital. Using barcode technology and preparing fresh foods that can be scanned and checked out, this allows the café to provide employees and visitors with inviting, heart-healthy meals at any time, day or night.
During the ice and snowstorms of the 2021 winter, hospital staff provided patients, visitors, and employees with hot meals each day and offered snacks and to-go meals to employees staying overnight to care for their patients from their Pop-Up Café.
Arkansas Heart Hospital is a five-star rated facility delivering five-star results with fresh foods made daily for their nourishment pods. In 2019, AHH added a 320-squarefoot, climate-controlled greenhouse that provides the culinary team direct access to fresh ingredients allowing heart-healthy and affordable options for their staff and patients. Each meal is prepared with top-notch recipes and fresh ingredients from the garden for the café and patient tray line. The culinary staff thrives on providing quality food with a picture-perfect presentation, and superior ingredients. RDNs and chefs teamed up to provide educational materials that recreate and promote healthy eating recipes and they now share these as samples to customers for free, giving each one a chance to try something new.
At Arkansas Heart Hospital, resilience without compromise and compassion with action are what the culinary team is made of!

2021 Foodservice Education Innovator of the Year Award
Germaine’s Kitchen and Café of Catholic Charities Oregon

Catholic Charities
Germaine's Kitchen and Cafe | Everyone Belongs at the Table

Germaine’s Kitchen and Café of Catholic Charities Oregon has earned the NFEF’s 2021 Foodservice Education Innovator of the Year Award. Germaine’s Kitchen and Café is a gluten-free culinary arts program that delivers a variety of essential skills, helping students and participants on a path to success in a professional kitchen or foodservice operation. This program offers in-class instruction on the fundamentals and foundations of cooking, along with the very important job/life skills and hands-on learning in just 16 weeks.
This program is geared towards adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), focusing on entry-level training. Designed to deliver students with the basic understanding and competencies of cooking and/or baking and life skills, this program also provides participants with the tools and skill sets along with the sensory awareness and teamwork needed to work with confidence and professionalism in a commercial kitchen or a related field. The program has been developed in collaboration with Catalyst Kitchen to ensure that students meet the needs and standards of today’s industry. Catalyst Kitchen is a Seattle-based organization devoted to ending the cycle of joblessness, poverty, and hunger.
At Germaine’s Kitchen and Café, students are met with encouragement to learn and provide real-life experiences to unlock their potential. With small class sizes, students are offered focused, individualized attention from professional chefs, instructors, and faculty.
During this 500+ hour certificate program, students will have the opportunity to learn and demonstrate an understanding of food identification and nutrition principles and gain the knowledge and professional skills used in food preparation and service. Students are prepared to advance their skill sets through the teaching of proper use and maintenance of professional knives, hand tools, and commercial kitchen equipment, proper food handling, storage, safety, and sanitation that can later earn a food handler safety certification. Students who attend this program will also learn how to communicate accurately and effectively, and to exemplify a personal sense of professionalism necessary for working successfully in the foodservice and hospitality industry.
Catholic Charities was founded in 1933 during the Great Depression and has been a leader in finding innovative solutions to poverty and injustice. Their mission is to assure that essential, life-saving services and supports are accessible to the most vulnerable Oregonians. Catholic Charities of Oregon is committed to improving the livelihood of individuals, families, and communities affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Catholic Charities of Oregon aims to provide help and create hope, and at Germaine’s Kitchen and Café, a seat at the table, where everyone belongs.