Sunnybrook Magazine - Spring 2019

Behind the scenes: how Sunnybrook prepares 3,000 meals for patients every day

Sunnybrook's production kitchen

(Photography by Kevin Van Paassen)

Hospital food has long had a bad reputation, but Sunnybrook is leading the charge to change that perception.

With a new production kitchen, customized menus, the guidance of nutrition experts and an executive chef at the helm, in-patients now have every reason to clean their plates.

Sunnybrook’s “Fresh Flex” menu is tailored to fit patients’ needs, within a wide range of culturally diverse dishes. Patients submit their food preferences, then meals are personalized in compliance with their medically prescribed diet. Most recipes are made from scratch on-site in a newly renovated kitchen.

Sunnybrook’s first executive chef, Serge Kostenko, and a team of experienced cooks manage every step of the process.

Fresh meal items and more choice may be welcome perks for patients, but there’s another important benefit: they can boost recovery. Research shows that providing quality nutrition can accelerate the healing process and can decrease a patient’s length of stay.

For overall health and happiness, good food matters!

  1. The production kitchen
    Sunnybrook’s newly renovated space is brimming with fresh ingredients and cutting-edge equipment. Recipes for the dishes are formulated in an off-site test kitchen to ensure they can be replicated on a larger scale.
  2. Meal selection
    Inpatients are offered a customized selection of dinner choices, which they preorder on iPads brought to their bedside.
  3. The personalized ticket
    Each order generates a ticket, which tells kitchen staff exactly how to customize each meal. Approximately 3,000 meals are prepared daily.
  4. Tray assembly
    Freshly cooked items are assembled on each patient’s tray one meal in advance.
  5. Final preparation on the unit
    Meals are transported from the kitchen to each patient care unit, where specialized equipment reheats each tray to a specific preset temperature.
  6. Distribution to patients
    Customized dinner items are delivered to each patient’s room.
  7. Bon appétit
    Patients tuck into their meals at their bedsides. After dinner, patients are encouraged to provide feedback. This survey information will help inform future menu choices.