UTMB President Dr. David L. Callender spent some time with Morrison Healthcare's Food and Nutrition Department, touring their brand new kitchen and experiencing firsthand the process of taking food from preparation to delivery in his latest In Your Shoes.
"I was pleased to be invited to tour the new kitchen facility and meet the executive chefs and a number of staff members involved in food preparation and delivery," said Callender. "They educated me about the wonderful capabilities of the new kitchen and food prep areas, as well as the details of all the work that is done to prepare and deliver food for our patients and staff. It’s a very impressive operation, and we’ve certainly come a long way from the days when we utilized a temporary kitchen located in a tent on top of the Plaza parking garage! Clearly, our colleagues at Morrison’s are true partners in the delivery of high quality service to our patients and staff. They really care about the service they provide to UTMB, and I greatly appreciate their commitment to our partnership."
The transition to the new space, located behind the PCP building, was necessary due to the upcoming demolition of the Jennie Sealy Hospital and went without a hitch.
"Our main goal during this move was to ensure that there was not any interruption to our service to both our patients and customers," said David Rayer, associate director Food and Nutrition. "Cold menus were prepared in advance in case we ran into unforeseen obstacles. Due to the great support we received from Bill Simpson, the project manager and Jeff Rodgers with Kitchen Corps, we did not have to use the cold menus. We have a beautiful new space with greater capabilities for our patients and guests."
The Food and Nutrition Department ensures patients receive a healthy well-balanced diet and also plays an important role in their overall health and recovery.
"While the Department of Food and Nutrition neither solves nor creates life altering vaccines to help mankind, we do provide nutritional value which helps aid in the recovery of our patients," said Bill Robertson, senior director of Food and Nutrition for Morrison Healthcare. "Our day to day job consists of making sure that patients eat the right foods, gain strength, retain clinical dietician’s instructions, and follow the physician’s orders so that they are able to return home."
Robertson enjoyed the opportunity to share the challenges of operating a professional kitchen with UTMB's president and gained valuable insight from the experience.
"When approached with the opportunity to have Dr. Callender accompany us on a visit to view our operations I was honored. My team immediately started planning the day. We introduced him to our shipping and receiving department, kitchen preparation and assembly area, and last but not least, the patient services department. Dr. Callender was able to see from delivery of raw products to the end result of placing the tray in front of the patient. He asked many questions and without knowing, gave me ideas on how I can simplify my employee’s daily tasks. Overall, it was exciting and rewarding to have Dr. Callender walk in our shoes."
Callender accompanied Lakisha Scurry, catering associate, on her daily tray deliveries and was a welcomed help mate.
"It was great to share with Dr. Callender how our department works, and to show him how we take care of the patients on a day-to-day basIs," Scurry said. "He was very helpful and pleasant to work with."