Layers of Flavor, Building a Late Summer BLT

 “Sometimes the best thing a cook can do, is to leave an ingredient alone.”

As I get older in my culinary journey, this phrase starts to  become more important to me everyday. There is a tendency in our world to construct dishes  that are overcomplicated and definitely neglect to highlight the quality of the individual ingredients. Very often, as with making a quality pizza, less can  actually become more! That was our inspiration today as I worked with guest Chef Tessa Nguyen to artfully craft a sandwich that was a little bit salty, smokey, sweet, and crunchy. With the help of two grill cooks, who handled all the orders, today I watched dozens of customers walk up to our grill station and all order the same thing one after another… The Ultimate BLT.

In the spirit of the late North Carolina summer, I really wanted to highlight this sandwich for lunch, and what a success it was. It all started with the bacon, which was house made from fresh pork belly that we cured for a week in a flavorful brine. It was then cold smoked for two hours using applewood chips. I sliced it nice an thick which gave it a nice meaty texture as this was one of the highlights of the sandwich.

Thick BaconAfter that, there was some really sexy (that’s right, I said it) heirloom tomatoes that were hand picked in the morning at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh. Today’s variety were all locally grown, and included Cherokee Purples, Marvel Stripes, and Brandywines. They were absolutely delicious, being both perfectly ripened and juicy. We sliced them rather thick, with the hopes of the tomato juices bursting in your mouth as you take your first bite.

heirloom tomatoes

 

To top it off,  we used a couple young red leaf lettuce fillets on each sandwich. They were plush and crisp at the same time, still having a rich flavor, which is not something achieved when using Iceberg lettuce.

salad5As we layered these ingredients atop of our lightly toasted  Wheatberry bread, the top piece was brushed with a generous schmear of a lovely lemon basil mayonnaise that Chef Tessa made with basil picked right from our herb garden just five minutes prior. This spread that she made was perfectly seasoned with just a hint of fresh garlic.

What a sandwich, perfect for this time of the year when the tomatoes are at the peak of freshness here in North Carolina. I was happy, and I’m sure the 40 plus people that enjoyed one for lunch in Raleigh today felt just the same.

Five layers of Love,

Chef Ryan

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“Pork Week”- It’s How Our Chefs Celebrate Shark Week

It’s been quite the week here, as the Black Hat Chefs were going full throttle with our new “Discovery Sessions.” While most of the world was celebrating “Shark Week,”  in our kitchens we were celebrating “Pork Week.” That’s right,  from the very start of the week, it’s been all pork, all day, everyday

It all started with our very first batch of Capicola . In the New York and New Jersey region where I’m from, you will most likely hear this pronounced “Gabagool”, but I’ve learned that here in North Carolina  it’s actually spelled out. Say it as you choose, but this dry cured cold cut is from the pork shoulder, with a slightly spicy flavor profile. As of now, it’s in the brine, and will it be ready to slice for sandwiches and lunch specials by the first week of November of this year.

Next up was two cases of pork belly that came in, we decided to use in our Discovery Sessions. As you can see below, our Director Jim McGrody is just about to hang some Pancetta in the cooler. This will be ready soon, as it brined throughout the week, and will air dry for another 15 days. I’m feeling like this will be making its way on top of some of our pizzas in just a couple of weeks!Pancetta

Next up, it was time for Porchetta. This was inspired by a friend of mine Chef Jason O’Toole from Cape Cod. Jason and I worked side by side while attending the CIA, and his passion for good food and classic culinary technique was always inspiring to me. Jason now owns a very successful artisan pizza place in Hyannis, Massachusetts called Pizza Barbone, and frequently posts pictures on his Facebook page of his Porchetta, a pork loin which has been wrapped in pork belly, then slowly roasted. It always looks so good, I was excited to do it here in the hospital as a special in the cafe. Below you can see the process of prepping it, as well  as the end result, which was served in our cafe with a classic Marsala sauce, which I was able to make by capturing some of the pan drippings from the roasting process. Thanks Jay for the inspiration on this, it was awesome!porchetta rolled

New Porchetta

If you are thinking that we are done… your wrong, as curing our own bacon is also in the works. This four day cure  was done with a mix of Kosher salt, brown sugar, black pepper, juniper berries, thyme, garlic, and molasses. This is now air drying in the cooler as I write this, as it will be smoked very low and slow in the morning. Bacon

To finish out the week, Chef Skip in the Courtyard Cafe was serving braised pork cheeks, served with our very own homemade sauerkraut and perogies. This dish was awesome, as they were done just right especially with the addition of whole grain mustard and carmelized apples. Check it out!

pork cheeks

So now that I’ve shared everything about Pork Week here in the hospital, it’s back to my house so I can continue watching Shark Week with my son!  Always celebrating the new direction of “Hospital Food”, New School Style.

Chef Ryan

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The Two Types Of People Who Work In The Kitchen

Just the other day, a good friend and former colleague of mine made a Facebook post about a saying that I used to say often while working with him in the kitchens in New York. I’ve said it for years now, and it still holds true in my opinion.

“There are only two types of people who work in a professional kitchen, those who fix the plastic wrap, and those who use it, and leave it for someone else to fix.”         – Chef Ryan Conklin CEC

I know that it sounds very basic, but the roots go down deep with this one. I can tell a good deal about someone’s character when I see how they leave the plastic wrap for others to use.  It only takes a minute to fix, but you will  save your teammate so much frustration when you do so. If you’ve never worked in the kitchen,  this may not make much sense to you. However, the rest of you know exactly what I’m talking about. In my experience I’ve found that for the many of us who take the time to fix it, we usually have traits such as, pride, passion, responsiblity, and are team oriented. For those of you that just continue to use it without fixing it, character traits tend to be quite opposite such as lazy, careless, and disorganized. So here is my question – which one are you?

plastic wrap

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Summertime Tears of Joy

 File photo of Britain's Jessica Ennis reacting after she won her women's heptathlon 800m heat at the London 2012 Olympic Games

 Tears of Joy-they don’t happen too often in one’s life, which is in fact the very reason that makes them all the more special. You will see them often at award ceremonies, sports championships, or even when your child does something remarkable that you are proud of. In the above picture you see Jessica Ennis from Great Britian after she won the heptathlon at the London Olympics in front of her hometown crowd in 2012. I remember watching this live and feeling her joy in my living room. How could you not?

Well  folks, yesterday I shed my very own tear of joy. It wasnt in London though, it was in Raleigh, N.C.- eating “hospital food.”  Now I wasn’t exactly sobbing, but a single tear did in fact slowly trickle down my plush Irish/Russian cheek. What I had done was created my very own food memory right in our kitchen, an amazing lunch with simple and clean flavors. A chef crafted burger, made with pristine quality ingredients. It was a work of art, an instant food memory, and it’s for sale in our cafe as I write this very moment. I want to share this one with you, and encourage you to try it at home, or in your food service operation this summer season.

 This is our Summer Pork Burger, topped with melted Brie, North Carolina peach chutney, and baby arugula. This is served on an artisan potato bun. Enjoy!

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 Here’s how you assemble it, with the recipes following behind. This needs to be prepared with love, trust me…it’s worth the effort!

Start by grilling your pork patty on medium to high heat for about 4 minutes, and then flip it over, and cook an additional 3 minutes or until proper doneness. At this point, top with three thin slices of Brie cheese. Once this is melted, place the burger on top of a toasted potato roll.  Now, top this with about 2 Tablespoons of the peach chutney, and then a small amount of fresh baby arugula. Top it with the other toasted part of the bun. That’s it.

*I highly advise that you to turn off your cell phones and are free from distractions while enjoying this!

Pork Patty (serves 4)
1# Freshly Ground Pork
1T Siracha
2T Sliced Scallions
2T Chopped Cilantro
1T Grated Fresh Ginger.
Kosher Salt and Ground Pepper
 
-Mix all ingredients well, and form into 4 oz patties.
 
 
 North Carolina Peach Chutney
 
1#                Fresh Peaches-Local is best. Peeled and diced
1/4 cup       Brown Sugar
1/4 cup       white Sugar
1T                 Fresh Grated Ginger
1 tsp             Fresh Thyme- chopped
1 tsp             Fresh Garlic-minced
 1/2 cup      Apple Cider Vinegar
 1/2 each    Red Bell Pepper-small diced
1/4 each     Onion-small diced
Salt & Pepper-to taste
 
-Mix both sugar and vinegar in a pot well and bring to a boil. Then add ginger, onions, peppers, thyme , garlic and peaches.
Bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes until the peaches are real soft.The chutney should be somewhat thick like a jelly consistency at this point. Season with salt and pepper, then chill until ready to use.
 
 
   Sláinte!                                                                                                                
 
 
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Preparation, Organization, Validation- My Quest to Become a Certified Executive Chef with The American Culinary Federation

This is my story of how I earned this credential in three months time. There are just over 3,000 chefs that hold this credential, and I am one of them. The following is a short story of how I did it.

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August 15th, 2012- Raleigh, NC.

When getting my annual performance review from my boss Jim McGrody, I said the words for the first time…”Certified Executive Chef.” It came out, when we started discussing my personal goals for the upcoming year. I told Jim, “If I put this down on paper with you now, it will make it formal, and It will give me the push I need to make it happen.” Although he was proud that I was putting it down,  I think he thought that it would be challenging for me. Once thing is for sure, he of all people would definitely hold me accountable if I didn’t reach my goal, at the same time he would  support me if I had achieved it, and give me every resource needed to do so.

March 19, 2013- Raleigh, NC

This was the day I took my first step, committing. A challenge was thrown my way from some of the leaders at The Association of Healthcare Foodservice, and I took the bait. The challenge…to take the cooking part of the exam at The AHF annual conference on June 6th in New Orleans. This was a pretty tight timeline to commit to, and all-stars had to be aligned for this to happen. I would have to hit the books and study, take tests, get my transcripts, take on-line courses, before taking the written  and practical examinations. There was also a huge risk with doing this on such a grand stage…failing the exam. The whole AHF organization would know of this, which was a huge wildcard to think about. In my eyes though I was confident in my ability, so I tuned anything negative out and marched forward with the challenge. “Go Big, or Go Home!”

April 1, 2013- Apex, NC

After my initial application was approved, and I’d  fulfilled my educational, on-line, and work experience requirements, I was given permission to take my written test. On this day, I left work, and drove south about 15 miles on US Rt.1 to Apex, to take my written exam. Although I havent been tested on these competencies in years,  I had confidence because I was properly prepared. Days studying on my Ipad in bed, taking on-line quizzes, reading classical cookbooks, and digging through my books from my days at The CIA. The result….I passed. Now the process was rolling.

April, 15- May 15th- Rex Healthcare, Raleigh, NC

After passing the written test, it was time to prepare for the big boy, the one everyone is scared of, the cooking practical. It was at this time that I started gathering thoughts about my menu, and shooting ideas off of others who have taken the exam. I changed my menu three separate times before committing. Practice runs soon would start.

May 22, 2013- Rex Healthcare, Raleigh, NC

My first run at the cooking practical was what I like to call a “hot mess”. I wasn’t focused, and was trying to think and do other things at the same time. Knife cuts, sanitation, and organization were all things that I had to go back to the basics with. On this day I realized that I had to be more focused with this.

May 23-May 27 2013

Cooking and breaking down lobsters, fabricating whole chickens, trimming fresh artichokes and precision knife cuts were what I practiced. It was hard to break away from the daily operation to do this, but I made it work the best as possible. I can remember setting up the deep fryer in my home kitchen and frying artichokes at 11:30 pm when the kids went to sleep. This is what it took, I was striving for something earned, and not given.

Friday, May 31, 2013- The Chef’s Academy, Morrisville, NC

My first 3 hour and 15 minute run that would be monitored by a proctor, who was Chef Steve Pexton from Rex. Steve is who I wanted because of his attention to detail, and mature palate. I told him to harass me, follow me around, and be honest.  This was tough to do as a chef, opening yourself up to critique, but I knew that I’d rather take the hits now rather than fail in New Orleans, which was never an option to me. This practice session went so bad, and I finished 15 minutes late. My food wasn’t seasoned, lobster was overcooked, and organization was lacking. That night, I decided that I wasn’t going home, until I had at least my lobster and chicken dish right. So back at work I was in my 13th hour of the day cooking and breaking down the remaining lobster I had. I cooked lobster for my line cooks and various team members that night. They loved it, but more importantly I had found my way. It was just as I had wanted it.

Saturday, June 1, 2013- Fuquay Varina, NC

I left my local food market early that morning after spending $48.00. What did I buy? A dozen artichokes and four whole chickens. I was going to get them right before my next practice run. So as my wife and kids watched on a Saturday morning, there I was on my kitchen island, turning fresh artichokes, and frenching the perfect chicken breasts. Searing the perfect chicken, and making each one golden brown was what I did while my son watched and asked questions. I had many other things that I was ignoring like yard work, and laundry, but I had to stay focused. I needed to be perfect.

Sunday, June 2, 2013- Raleigh, NC

I spent half the day at work gathering my prep and final menus and checklists for my last practice run, and my eventual drive down to New Orleans. My bags were packed, but I had one more practice run left the next day at The Chef’s Academy.

Monday, June 3, 2013- The Chef’s Academy Morrisville, NC

My last and final practice run before my trek, and Chef Steve Pexton was there again for me.Was I perfect at this time? No. Was I more confident? Yes. I knew that this was my last time to practice, so after this run through it was all on me. Once again, at this time, the thought of failing wasn’t an option for me. On that same day at 4pm, I left Raleigh, and started my 14 hour drive to New Orleans. About 2 hours in, I connected with Chef Eric Eisenberg from Swedish Health Services in Seattle via telephone. He would be taking his exam at the same time, so we were putting each other at ease, and sharing our practice session tips and mishaps. We both talked about sanitation & organization while finalizing our plans to shop for ingredients while in New Orleans.

Wednesday, June 5th 2013- New Orleans, Louisiana 6:30 am

This was the day before the test. Chef Eric and myself ventured out for a pre-test walk-through at Delgado Community College. Chef Vance Roux CCC CCE from Delgado showed us the kitchen & gave us a printed timeline for the following day. It was the first day of school for students as well, so the place was pretty busy. After our meeting, Chef Roux spent about 30 minutes talking about hurricane Katrina, and what had happened from his viewpoint. This was one of the most interesting and insightful conversations I had in sometime. After leaving, we ventured off to one of the best restaurant supply stores that I had ever been to called Caire Restaurant Supply. This placed was packed wall to wall and sky-high with all of your culinary needs.  Chef Eric picked up a last-minute ring mold, and then we were off to go food shopping. We spent the next 4 hours foraging for our ingredients at Rouses Market and then at Whole Foods. Pristine quality salmon, lobsters, whole chickens, and produce were on the agenda. I was looking for things like the perfect bell pepper, artichokes that were just right, and the freshest looking Belgian endive in New Orleans. Everything right down to the fresh tarragon and parsley had to be of the finest quality. No exceptions.

At around 6:00pm, we had arranged to work in the 3rd floor pastry kitchen of the Sheraton New Orleans to do some organization and mise en place. We treated our ingredients like a newborn baby, and organized our coolers for our early morning departure. This process took us to 11:00pm, a long day, but we knew that we had done everything in our power to be properly prepared.

Thursday, June 6, 2013- New Orleans

We met in the pastry kitchen of the Sheraton, and proceeded to pack the car and head towards the test site. At 7:ooam we arrived and started to unload and organize our areas. At the same time, a chocolate-colored Jeep pulled up to the loading dock, and out of the car came three chefs from the Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge. They were my evaluators, they would validate my skills. Things just got real.

At 8:15 am I, who had chosen to cook first, presented my menu to the evaluators, and started to dance in the kitchen. For three straight hours, I did as practiced, and executed my plan. As the evaluators followed me around the kitchen with clipboards in hand, it didn’t phase me one bit, because I was confident, and  felt comfortable with my preparation and ability. I had my swag, nobody was going to take this from me.

At 11:15 am, while plating my three courses in front of the evaluators, I knew that I was in complete control, It was just like being back on the line at the hotel during Saturday night service, because I was properly prepared, and I executed with great tact. When my last dish went out, I breathed a sigh of relief. The lead evaluator Chef David Tiner CEC, CCA, ACE, FMP saw my stress release and  leaned  over  to me and said, “We have all been there, great job.”

About 45 minutes later after a brief meeting with the evaluators, I had learned my fate, and one of the pot washers took this picture of me as I left the room. I had achieved my goal, I earned the credential of Certified Executive Chef.  Also, congratulations to my colleague Chef Eric Eisenberg CEC  returned back to Seattle as well, with his goal accomplished.

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Air Traffic Controllers of The Hospital Kitchen

As I pulled up our teams most recent results to our patient satisfaction scores, It was a beautiful site. Nearly half of the patients polled rated the overall food service experience as “excellent.” What a powerful word that is. There is a  something very distinct in the difference between a specific experience being very good as opposed to excellent, and in our case, its way more than just the food.

There is a small group of team members that have really helped our program reach new heights over the past few years , and they are equally important to achieving excellence without even cooking a thing, they are our Nutrition Therapy Team, also known as Air Traffic Control.

nurtition thereapy office

    They are first ones onsite, arriving at 4:30 am, 365 days a year. They are the ones that get it all started daily. They are the first point of contact with our patients in regards to their dining experience. They are our kitchen command center, our air traffic controllers.

I  say air traffic controllers because I had the luxury of visiting a tower while in New York about 5 years ago, witnessing first hand how the air traffic control team really dictates what happens at the airport. They are the first point of contact for pilots and help guide them in safely, they control the ground traffic as well, ensuring things happen in a timely manner, keeping safety paramount. Like these same controllers in the tower, our  Nutrition Therapy team is doing the same thing, being the first point of contact to our patients when they order food, guiding the cooks in the kitchen via intercoms, and helping direct our room service attendants that deliver our meals. Like air traffic controllers, the requirement while on duty is  to be “On” at all times, because any small detail neglected can lead to a less than stellar dining experience for our patients. Our team is always “On!”

Led by our Clinical Nutrition Manager Lyn Haft, the team has really evolved, and are extremely in tune to our whole kitchen operation. At some point, I’ve seen virtually all of them at sometime or another coming on the cooks line to take action,  whether it was following up on a promise to a patient, or expediting an order that needs to be sent immediately. In times of need, they will even deliver a meal to a patient if it’s going to make the difference between very good and excellent.

Personally, I can remember being a patient here in the hospital, and the excellent service in which I had received while placing my food order. It truly did remind me of the room service dining at one of my previous employers, The Four Seasons Hotel in New York City.  It’s very comforting to know that this same conversation that I had with this team is happening nearly 1000 times a day with all of our patients! This is such a positive change from  the phase “Dietary” being shouted at you when someone answers the phone like in many other hospitals throughout our country. I can assure you, this is not the case here. Right from the phone call, our team will help our patients navigate around the menu, even explaining cooking methods, ingredient breakdown,  and other options available not on the menu.

We have many moving parts, but one common goal… excellence. Our entire Nutrition Therapy team demonstrates this daily. They all play a crucial role in the success of our food program, as does this air traffic controller below, safely guiding these skies in New York.

Air Traffic control

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Talent Showcase- The In House Sushi Chef

Special events, off-site catering, chef demonstrations and lunch & learns are all daily happenings that are becoming more frequent in hospital foodservice operations. In the past, hospitals would hire outside vendors and restaurants to do this part of the business, but now as the chef influence is more pronounced in healthcare kitchens,  the in-house culinary teams are rising to the occasion to take center stage.

Recently, to help celebrate Doctors Day, we did just that. As part of the event, we had a station with handmade sushi rolled right in front of you. It was the third time we’ve now done this, each time more of a success. While leaving the room after the initial set-up, I was walking back to the kitchen and thinking  to myself, “How lucky we are to have the talent to pull this off ?” The addition  of some key players to our culinary team has really made a difference.

 Our in-house sushi chef Jonas Feliciano,  originally from Central Luzon in the Philippines,  arrived in North Carolina in 1996. Upon his arrival he started to work in a local Japanese restaurant as a potwasher the day after he arrived, and subsequently has not looked back since.  After spending nearly fifteen years honing his new career in various Asian restaurants in and around Raleigh, he finally found his home with our team here in 2011, where he has frequently showcased his unique talents and passion for sushi for our catering and special events team.

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As seen above, Chef Jonas loves to interact with his customers, and on this day,  they were lining up to taste his art. We could have easily called a local restaurant and pre-ordered  the sushi to be made for us, but when it’s done right in front of your eyes by a co-worker, it makes it all the more special. Once again – “New School Hospital Food.”

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Make Your Customers Happy, Respect the Salad Bar

    Before culinary school, I spent roughly 2 years working as a pantry cook in the kitchen of  The Arden House in Harriman, New York. In this role, I worked with cold salad preparation  dressings, sandwiches, shrimp cocktail and fruit platters just to name a few. Every day for lunch, I had three fresh prepared salads that I needed to have ready for our salad bar at 10:45 am. They were to be freshly made, and artfully presented. Nothing  was “store-bought,” it was all made from scratch. So in a way it was a good thing as I learned how to make bleu cheese dressing, gazpacho, cocktail, sauce, and hummus just to name a few. Freshly whipped cream, and handmade cold canapes were also part of my daiily repertoire. I was a salad chef, and proud of it.

Fast forward now nearly 16 years, and I’m an executive chef in healthcare, and I’m excited  that my salad team is doing the same as I once did. The “salad girls”   as we call them here have come a long way, and have a crucial role in our food programs success.  Here they are, getting ready for battle…

Salad girls

Let me share a little more about the cold side of our operation. Our market style salad bar is  a very popular spot in the Courtyard Cafe. Our team spends time crafting composed salads, with and emphasis on freshness. Daily, you will see a  large variety of whole grain salads, freshly cut fruit with berries, marinated vegetables  and a variety of green salads. You will also see salads with edamame, legumes,  and a  variety exotic rices and grains.  Recently, we’ve even started to make our own pickles and giardiniera vegetables. Right from the start, we knew that if we were going to change our salad bar from the “Institutional Style” to more of a “Market Style” concept, our customers needed to be educated on many of the new ingredients. That was done with numerous samplings and tastings to help win our customers over and turn them on to something new. Now, items that were once foreign have quickly become signature staples in our operation. The “salad girls” are making it happen.

Here are some pictures of our salad bar today, as we are featuring  Tropical Black Barley, Southern Style Black Eyed Peas, Chesapeake Style Seafood with Baby Shrimp , and Tuscan Style Pasta with freshly made  Arugula Pesto & Olives

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Additionally at Mezza Luna (pictured below)- which is our made to order salad market, you can choose from a one of our chef crafted salads, or build your own by choosing from over 40 fresh ingredients. The best part is, you can watch it prepared and tossed right in front of your eyes.

654676_origMeza LunaSo Basically what I’m trying to say is… never neglect the cold side of your operation. Often the focus is so strong about entrees and sides,  that the opportunities to delight are frequently missed when you settle for pre-made salads, and items that don’t focus on freshness. In my world, with the help of the “salad girls” we are able to bring the wow factor to places that have been neglected in the past.

Special thanks to Jim McGrody, who can be seen frequently throughout the kitchen these days with his camera in hand, capturing the spirit of what we do, which is making “hospital food” better.

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It’s Not Your Average Cup of Tea

If you’ve been reading this blog for any time now, you’ll most likely  agree that it’s obvious that our team takes healthcare cuisine seriously.  In addition, we are also always looking for ways that go beyond food quality to elevate the hospital dining experience.  Recently, we’ve instituted our Afternoon Tea, available to select patients on a daily basis throughout the hospital. The new system, developed by Ben Kesterson, the newest member of our leadership team, was designed to create yet another “wow”  dining event for our patients and families. Ben, who had previously worked with a similar Tea Service  while working at The Biltmore Hotel , has worked with the team at The Charleston Tea Plantation, located on historic Wadmalaw Island  in the heart of low country of South Carolina. They have put together a menu including selections such as Chamomile Blossom, Organic Peppermint, Island Green, and Charleston Breakfast Tea.

Below, a picture straight from the grounds of The Charleston Tea Plantation in South Carolina, and a copy of our daily tea offerings.

 

Our room service attendants head up to see our patients usually between 2:30 and 3:00pm. After being presented with our menu, they are given the choice of some unique afternoon treats -today’s include a chocolate dipped strawberry, and mini cheesecake . Fresh baked biscotti is also available daily as well.

After patients make a custom selection, our team portions out the selected tea, and prepares our French tea press with hot water. Patients are then educated to let the tea selection steep for about 2 minutes, before working the press. Cream, sugar, and lemon  are also readily available.

Once again, the team has pushed the limit, and raised the bar on what the expectations are for food in the hospital setting.

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It’s Cibo Time- a hospital grill redefined.

The Rex Chefs are at it again… this time revolutionizing the typical “hospital cafeteria grill.”

Cibo (pronounced- chee-bow)  a non-pretentious person who enjoys all food. Either talking about food, or eating food, a Cibo is happy with all things food.  Cibo also was used in the form Cib/o taking from the Latin word cibus and was used as a medical term for meals. The two blended together to produce the first venue of its kind in a hospital. Our approach,  was to break through the chains, and steer away from fried food, and in return, create a unique dining experience focused on fresh bold flavors, high quality ingredients, and simplistic and clean cooking techniques.

At Cibo, you can have items such as pesto grilled salmon with tomato basil salad,  Spice Island spicy seared tilapia with mango-pineapple salsa and  coconut & lime essence,  chipotle black bean burger with avocado mash and pico de gallo, grilled sweet plantains, fresh grilled marinated zucchini, and tossed baby greens with a homemade vinaigrette of the day. Check out this behind the scenes look at the all new Cibo Grille

The highlight of our new menu is the Cibo Burger, a 100% fresh, never frozen ground chuck patty, cooked to order and served on a locally baked Neomande potato bun. Just like Five Guys, our burgers are never frozen and cooked fresh to order. You can also customize this simplistic work of art with your choice of toppings including our house made pickles and jalapenos,  fresh avocado mash, bacon, mushrooms, grilled onions and more!

At breakfast,  guests can try an omelet made to order with toppings like fresh  baby spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese. You can even add our homemade pork carnitas, or spicy beef machaca which is simmered for about 4 hours in a spicy tomato broth with chipotle peppers. Also in the morning, you can have fresh blueberry, banana nut, and whole grain pancakes, or even a grilled 6oz rib eye steak & eggs your way!

If these items start to bore you, there is always our homemade meatloaf sandwich with grilled onions, cheddar and smoky bbq sauce, or a made to order Philly cheese steak, a customer favorite. Available as a compliment to all sandwiches are our signature JoJos potato wedges- never fried fresh potatoes tossed with an array of unique ingredients and toppings such as the Thai chilis, fresh dill, garden fresh rosemary, parmesan cheese and roasted garlic. All served with our signature JoJo’s dipping sauces such as jalepeno ranch,  smoky chipotle ketchup, or garlic horseradish aioli.

The Black Hat Chefs are proud of our newest venue, which is a fresh new change from the typical hospital grill station seen across the nation.

Hungry yet? It’s officially Cibo time!

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