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March 29, 2017

From Grandma’s Kitchen and Hospitality to HHS’ Culinary Team: A Conversation with Chef Frank Boerdner

Chef Frank Boerdner’s passion for cooking began in his grandmother’s kitchen, as he watched her whip up her famous mashed potatoes.  Aspiring to be just like her, he would gather the extra pots and follow her lead. This fond memory helped propel Boerdner’s career into culinary arts.  

After completing culinary school in Germany, he began his career in the hospitality sector working as a chef at resorts located in New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Nassau, in the Bahamas.

“I loved working in the hospitality industry,” Boerdner reflects, “but when I had the opportunity to speak with Chef Marta Hernandez with HHS, I knew within three minutes that this was a calling and I wanted to work for this company.”

The conversation between the two changed Boerdner’s perception of healthcare foodservice and after 20 plus years in hospitality, he decided to wave goodbye to the sandy beaches of the Bahamas and join the HHS team.

“I truly believe in HHS’ product and love being on the ground floor of a growing company,” said Boerdner.  “The great thing about working at HHS is that they love creativity and allow the culinary team to think outside of the box when it comes to sustainability.”

Boerdner’s passion for sustainability proves to be complementary to HHS’ commitment to responsible environmental stewardship.

“Early in my career, there was a piece of fish that I didn’t feel was worth cooking so I threw it out.  The head chef saw this and told me how the fish had one life and by throwing it out I had taken that life for granted,” Boerdner reflects.  “That encounter was an eye opener for me and I really took it to heart.”  

“An initiative I started at my facility in Tennessee, and plan to implement at our other partner locations, is ‘UBU’, or ‘Ugly But Usable.’  Much of the produce meant for the supermarkets are tossed out because they have blemishes, but they are still perfectly useable.  We purchase the produce at a more cost efficient rate, design our recipes around it, and are able to provide our guests and patients with quality, delicious food.”

Beyond creating new initiatives to help better maintain environmental resources, Boerdner brings his excitement and passion for cooking to team members and patients.

“What makes me feel great is seeing the team get excited about different cooking methods and trying new recipes with foods they’ve never seen before,” states Boerdner.  “That excitement flows down to our guests and patients as well.  Patients look forward to receiving their meals and you can see that reflected on the room service style menus we offer.  They treat the menu like a road map; I’ve seen menus with notes and comments written all over them. For many, it is the best part of the day.”

“When you hear that you made someone’s pain or sorrow better by the meal you created with your own hands, that’s amazing!  That’s not something you get in other culinary industries,” expressed Boernder, “Food honestly heals.”

“Everyday when I step in the kitchen I get to be adventurous and challenge myself with the nourishment we provide. Besides, you are only as good as the last meal you cooked.  You have to keep reaching for new goals!”

Tag(s): Healthcare

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