William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
Madison VA Kitchen Upgrade Complete
Following a complete renovation of its kitchen facility, the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Nutrition Staff has transitioned to serving hot food to all patients and expects to offer menu dining by the end of August.
The new kitchen design substantially improves the efficiency of the floor plan, the safety of food preparation and delivery operations, and, most importantly, allows the facility to move from its prior cook/chill system to serving made to order hot food for patients.
Previously, meal items such as an order of pancakes, or baked fish had to be reheated from a chilled state.
“Staff could not be happier about our kitchen renovation and the opportunity to provide a higher quality and diversity of food to patients,” said Amanda Hawkins, Chief of Nutrition and Food Services. “In our old cook/chill system, it was very difficult to make staples like baked potatoes, French fries and scrambled eggs taste good, despite the many efforts of our cooks."
With the new kitchen equipment, cooks will now be able to sear a pork chop, scramble eggs, deliver an oven hot baked potato, and offer a wide variety of other fresh options to Veteran patients.
Veterans at the hospital are noticing the difference.
“With the transition to our new kitchen equipment and cooking processes, we have already seen increases in our patient satisfaction scores,” said Hospital Director John Rohrer. “Food can make a big difference in the Veterans care experience.”
Staff are happier too. The improved design creates a more efficient workflow, and with brand new cooking equipment, and the ability to create a more diverse and appetizing product for Veterans, Nutrition and Food staff satisfaction and pride has also soared.
Staff particularly enjoy making freshly cooked hamburgers, hot ham and cheese and other patient favorites on the brand new flat top grill.
“The kitchen remodel was complicated and multi-phased, but now that it is done, staff are excited to exceed Veterans dining expectations,” said Hawkins.
Soon, Veterans will be offered the option to order their own food (within dietary restrictions) and the prospect of moving from one reheated option to multiple fresh options, will only improve service for Madison’s Veteran heroes.
“We are doing all we can to keep Veterans healthy and out of the hospital,” said Rohrer. “But, when they are here, we want them to enjoy the food!”