NCH Food Services: A Delicious Treat

NCH Food Services: A Delicious Treat

By Jean Amodea

More than good medicine, NCH Food Services provides quality meals and superior nourishment for patients, employees, medical staff and visitors, as well as for catered events for outside groups.

Behind the scenes, Executive Chef Ron Mahon, Chef John Hart and Patient Services Manager Donna Dicola each operate specific areas of the department demonstrating their superior culinary skills.

Mahon oversees all kitchen production operations; Hart oversees the deli and world cuisine food stations, while Dicola focuses on the efficient delivery of patient meals.

According to Director of Food and Nutritional Services and registered dietitian Evelyn Vance, NCH serves approximately 1.3 million meals annually, including both NCH campuses.

“Of this number, 36 percent of meals are for patients and the remainder is for nonpatients in areas such as the cafeteria, the doctor’s café and for catered events,” Vance said. “We have 36 different patient diets, from the infamous clear-liquid diet to more complicated diets, such as ones that address multiple nutritional requirements. We also provide food to meet patients’ ethnic or religious preferences.”

Clinical dietitians play an important role in the department focusing on patient needs and interacting with the majority of patients.

Registered dietitians work in both critical-care and general areas. They assist in the formulation of nutrition administered intravenously to adult and pediatric patients. In NCH cardiac classes, the dietitians teach patients about making good food choices.

For non-patients, “great meals at great prices” can be enjoyed at the NCH Treetop Café, which offers an up-to-date, bistro-like setting for employees and visitors to dine and relax in a tranquil atmosphere. Renovated in 2011, the café offers casual or seated dining options, indoor in an upscale atmosphere or outdoor on the screen-covered patio, rivaling many Naples lunch spots.

Its “Fresh Inspirations” theme drives Hart’s fresh-food offerings and extends to style, color, equipment layout and even to servers ‘uniforms.

Vance said the theme encourages healthful eating through use of nutrition labeling and creative menu selections based on Sodexo’s five-week selective menu. (Sodexo is a healthcare food and facilities management company.)

“The deli and world-cuisine stations are most popular as witnessed by the long lines that form at lunch time for Chef Hart’s hand-prepared and assembled, made-to-order sandwiches, wraps and salads,” Vance added. “Lee Almeida, NCH retail and catering manager, also offers seasonal promotions and limited time offers to add a variety of tastes and food choices not otherwise offered on traditional menus.”

Visit the Treetop Café, open seven days a week, 7-10 a.m. for breakfast, 11:15 a.m.-2 p.m. for lunch and 5-8 p.m. for dinner.