HHS Culinary Program at Baton Rouge General Wins “Best In Show” in Local Restaurant Competition

Restaurants throughout the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area competed in a Capital Chef’s Showcase and cooking competition in November, which drew the area’s best restaurants, as well as an unexpected entrant: the chef team from the bistros at Baton Rouge General Medical Center.

While hospital food isn’t usually lumped in the same category as the best local restaurants, by the end of the evening, the chef team at Baton Rouge General had won “Best in Show.”

225BatonRouge, a website focusing on all things Baton Rouge, covered the unexpected win in an article titled, “If your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier, give the bistros at Baton Rouge General a shot.”

From the article:

“As the servers dished up crispy braised pork belly, osso bucco served over blackened praline risotto with crawfish mascarpone, and pumpkin tiramisu, they heard it over and over again: ‘This is hospital food?’ And at the end of the night, that hospital food would be named Best in Show in the Bite & Booze cooking competition.

The win didn’t come as a surprise to the hospital’s team of chefs and dietitians. It’s a moment they’ve been working toward since launching the Baton Rouge General Fit program in 2012, hiring chefs with restaurant experience to revamp patient meals and transforming its Mid City and Bluebonnet hospital cafeterias into “bistros.”

The goal was to make better-tasting food with better ingredients—using olive oil and real butter instead of pan sprays or margarine and almond flour and coconut flour instead of white flour. They banned sugars and artificial sweeteners, opting to add sweetness with cinnamon, cloves, local honey or fresh fruits.

‘We’re kind of like mad scientists. We’re given healthy guidelines we must follow, and we make it work,’ says the Bluebonnet bistro’s executive chef John Lindamood.

And it’s made all the difference in the world for patients—especially when the only bright spot in their day might be a good meal.

‘We’re trying to help people make changes to their lifestyle,’ Voiselle says. “You don’t have to give up pizza. You don’t have to give up pasta. We use great ingredients to make great food, and it just happens to be healthy.’

It’s not just patients benefiting—anyone from the public can dine at the hospital bistros. Between its two locations, the hospital serves more than 1 million meals per year.

Read the full article on 225batonrouge.com.