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Hospitals Hungry To Hire Chefs

February 8, 2012, 6:02 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Hospitals Hungry To Hire Chefs
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Most chefs dream of working at a five-star restaurant, not a hospital. But more culinary professionals are finding jobs in health care as a trend of hospital hospitality emerges.

Chefs have been busy preparing everything from pecan chicken salad to Valentine's Day cookies at Avera's Prairie Center. It's a much different food for thought than just a few years ago when hospital food was seen at the same level as school cafeteria cooking.

"What better way to get good hospital food than to hire chefs?" Avera McKennan Executive Chef Amanda Viau said.

Viau is the Executive Chef at Avera McKennan; 15 chefs work for the health system.

"If you want me to come to your room, I will come to your room, find out what you want, and cook it for you," Viau said.

The food made by chefs is not just for patients but also their friends, family and others who stop by.

"They may spend hour after hour after hour in the hospital environment, and certainly they need to be taken care of as well," Avera Hospitality Vice President Tom Bosch said.

Bosch knows a thing or two about hospitality; he worked in the hotel business for 24 years.

"Most of them, unless it's a pregnancy situation, they don't want to necessarily be there. So, taking care of them, doing those small, little things to just make a difference and make their experience here much better is what our goal is," Bosch said.

And with hospitality becoming even more important for hospitals, both Bosch and Viau believe health care organizations will be even hungrier to hire chefs.

"You've seen a change all the way from the quality of the food to the way it's presented because we eat with our eyes," Bosch said.

"Those trends that you see in restaurants, we try to incorporate in hospitals. So, anything you see changing in the wide-open world, that's what you're seeing change in hospitals as well," Viau said.

It's a cooking change that's giving patients more choices.

Sanford also has six chefs in its kitchen in Sioux Falls.

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