Health Care Culinary Contest: Complete official rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN A PRIZE IN THIS CONTEST; void where prohibited. A purchase will not improve your chances of winning. This is a skill-based contest; this is not a game of chance. Winners will be chosen based on the criteria outlined below.

Contest overview

The Health Care Culinary Contest (the “Contest”) is an opportunity for health care culinary professionals to change the way people think about hospital food, serving meals that are healthier for people and the planet, learning from each other’s successes, partnering with local farmers and food businesses, and taking their menus to new levels in creativity and flavor.

Health Care Without Harm, in partnership with Practice Greenhealth, is teaming up with Menus of Change, an initiative of The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, to judge recipes submitted by applicants and to crown a winner at the 2020 CleanMed Conference in Orlando.

Qualifying recipes for the 2019 Health Care Culinary Contest will be original, appealing, delicious plant-forward dishes, incorporating a variety of vegetables, fruits, plant proteins, and whole grains. If animal proteins are used, the focus will be on flavoring the dish or playing a supporting role. Ingredients that are verified sustainably produced, such as certified organic (see checklist) will earn additional points.


The Contest is open only to (i) U.S. legal residents (including D.C.), (ii) who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry, and (iii) who work for or in a health care institution.  Employees of Sponsor and the immediate families (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) or household members of all such employees, are not eligible.  Participation constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and Sponsor’s decisions, which are final and binding in all matters relating to the Contest.

Please Note:  Only one recipe per facility will be judged.  Submission of multiple recipes from the same facility will result in disqualification of all subsequently submitted recipes.

Contest period  

The Contest begins on October 1, 2019, at 12:00 AM EST, and ends on November 30, 2019, at 11:59 PM EST (the “Contest Period”).

How to enter  

To enter the Contest, please visit the Contest webpage at during the Contest Period.  You will be asked to complete the following steps, each of which is described in more detail below:  1) create a qualifying recipe that follows the plant-forward philosophy, which emphasizes and celebrates, but is not limited to, plant-based foods; 2) feature and promote your recipe during the Contest Period; and 3) submit a complete recipe and additional details using the online entry form.

1) Create a Qualifying Recipe

Qualifying recipes follow the plant-forward philosophy, which emphasizes and celebrates, but is not limited to, plant-based foods, and which meet the following criteria:

Do include/ Do

Don't include/ Don't

  • Use processed meat (the World Health Organization designated processed meat as a carcinogen, and the American Medical Association passed a policy to urge hospitals to eliminate it from their menus).
  • Use processed plant protein “meat analogs,” e g., “fake bacon,” soy meat crumbles. (See our Redefining protein report for a distillation of the current science on the benefits of whole protein compared to processed meat analogs.)
  • Submit an incomplete recipe (e.g., missing measurements, incomplete instructions).
  • Submit more than one recipe per facility (only the first received recipe will be considered).

Entries featuring any of the above “Don’t Include” items will be deemed disqualified and will not be judged.  Please see judging criteria and winner selection below for additional guidance on how recipes will be evaluated by judges.

Recipe must be an entrant's original creation, and entrants warrant they have not copied their recipes from others and are not violating the rights of another person or entity by submitting their recipes.  Sponsor reserves the right to revise the ingredient list submitted by entrant and substitute any trademarked or copyrighted brand name products with generic ingredients determined by, and in the sole discretion of, the Sponsor to be comparable to the trademarked or copyrighted brand name products. By submitting a recipe, entrant certifies that he/she (i) is the creator of the recipe and (ii) is able and authorized to submit it.

2) Feature and promote your recipe 

As noted in the judging criteria below, judges will consider how entrants market and promote their recipes. Entrants should:

  • Create an enticing name. Use the best practices set forth by the World Resources Institute to devise a name that attracts diners’ attention to and appetite for your dish.
  • Plan your meal. Prepare and serve your recipe.
  • Cook, serve, and celebrate. Feature your recipe on patient and/or retail menus and offer samples to customers during the Contest Period.

3) Submit your recipe

When you are ready to submit your recipe, please use the online submission form. A PDF of the form is available for reference purposes. Please note: all applications must be submitted through the online submission form. This PDF cannot be used for submission. You will be requested to:

  1. Include contact/background information. You will be asked to provide contact information and background both about yourself and your health care facility.
  2. Submit your complete recipe. You will be asked to provide the following: list of ingredients; list of measurements; detailed procedures for preparing, cooking, and serving your recipe; serving/scale information; and nutritional information.
  3. Submit photo(s). Submit at least one original photo taken during the Contest Period (more are encouraged).  The photo should be sufficiently high resolution, and photos should be horizontally aligned.  Photo suggestions include:  photo of chef and the meal; photo of the meal; and photo of signage promoting the meal.
  4. Submit sourcing details. Submit sourcing information for ingredients that meet the Sustainable food definitions checklist for local or sustainably sourced.  Points will be awarded as described in the judging criteria based on considerations such as: (i) ingredient description (e.g., lentils, quinoa, farro, butternut squash); (ii) claims/certifications (e.g., USDA certified organic, Food Alliance Certified); and (iii) farm, locally sourced.
  5. Complete post-contest survey. We ask that you complete a simple 6-question survey at the end of the recipe submission form.  Please note that survey responses will not be considered when evaluating recipes. 


Judging criteria and winner selection  

Entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges on the basis of the criteria outlined below.  Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received and the quality of entries received.

  • Quality of submission (33%): Recipe submission is complete and includes an ingredient list, ingredient measurements, clearly written instructions, and serving size information. Small batch (4-8 servings) and production scaled (minimum of 20 servings) recipe versions are provided to support sharing and use in institutional food service settings. Submissions should include photo(s) of the recipe and/or chef. Photo(s) show a well-presented, visually appealing dish. Photos should be horizontally aligned photos and should be sufficiently high resolution.
  • Sustainability and alignment with plant-forward theme (43%): Menus of Change describes plant-forward as “a style of cooking and eating that emphasizes and celebrates, but is not limited to, plant-based foods.” Under this theme, recipes should highlight delicious opportunities for healthy, sustainable eating, with an emphasis on plant ingredients. Recipes will be evaluated based on these ingredient categories:
    • Fruits and vegetables: Points for up to three ingredients, with additional points awarded for products that are verified sustainable and local.
    • Whole grains (e.g., oats, barley, quinoa, brown, wild rice): Points for one type of this ingredient, with an additional point for verified sustainable items.
    • Legumes (e.g., beans, peas, lentils) and whole soy products (e.g., edamame, tofu, tempeh): Points for one type of this ingredient, with additional points for verified sustainable items.
    • Certified organic dairy products (e.g., cheese, yogurt): Points for up to two products.
    • Eggs: Points for use of a verified sustainable product, with additional points for products that are verified sustainable and local.

With the emphasis on plant-forward, recipes that incorporate meat should include no more than 1.5 ounces per serving. If you choose to use seafood, it should be a wild-sourced variety.

Submissions should include complete nutritional information (per serving), including, at a minimum, the following: calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol, sodium, and potassium. Dishes with less than 700 milligrams of sodium per serving will receive an additional point.

  • Marketing and promotion (13%): Research shows how we talk about food and how it is presented can influence consumer choices. Submission should include a description of how you (i) promoted your dish by creating a name that demonstrates the best practices set forth by the World Resources Institute and (ii) elevated the visibility of the dish by offering samples. Points will be awarded based on the name selection and a brief description of your sampling efforts.
  • Recipe inspiration and backstory (11%): Submission should include a brief description of the background of your recipe and how the dish responds to customer preferences and celebrates the plant-forward theme. Points will be awarded based on the quality of the narrative provided.

All entries will be judged on or about March 31, 2020.  After evaluating recipes using the scoring criteria above, the top five highest-scoring entries will be subject to a taste-test to determine the grand prize winner and four finalist winners.  In the event of a tie when selecting finalists, the tied entry scoring highest in the “Sustainability and alignment with the plant-forward theme” category will be deemed the finalist.  If a tie still exists, the tied entry scoring highest in the “Quality of submission” category will be deemed the finalist.  All decisions by judges are deemed final.

Winner notification  

Winners will be notified by email/phone on or about March 31, 2020, and announced at CleanMed 2020 in Orlando, Florida on May 12-14, 2020.  Winners will be required to respond within seven (7) calendar days from winner notification, or the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be chosen.  Affidavit of eligibility, prize acceptance form, tax information, publicity release, and/or mutually acceptable liability releases may be required and, if so, must be returned within reasonable specified time or prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner is chosen.


And approximate retail values (ARV)

Five winners will be chosen in total (one grand prize winner and four finalists).  Winners will receive the following:

One (1) grand prize winner:

  • Acknowledgment at the 2020 Menus of Change Summit hosted by the Culinary Institute of America.
  • A trip for the recipe chef (or chef’s designee) to CleanMed 2020, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability, May 12-14 in Orlando, Florida, including flights and accommodations (3 nights).
  • The winning meal will be featured, and the chef will be honored, at CleanMed.

ARV of the grand prize $2600.

Four (4) finalists:

  • Acknowledgment at CleanMed 2020, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability, May 12-14 in Orlando, Florida.
  • Dinner for two (2) at a local farm to table restaurant.

ARV of each finalist prize: $100.

Total ARV of all prizes to be awarded in the Contest:  $3000.

Winner travel prize details:  Sponsor will provide the winning chef, or the chef’s designee, with round-trip, economy/coach-class airfare to Orlando, Florida from a major domestic airport near winner’s place of residence in the United States, hotel accommodations for three (3) nights (one (1) double occupancy room; excludes meals, room service, or other incidentals) at a hotel selected by Sponsor, and admission ticket to CleanMed 2020.  If winner lives within a 150-mile radius of hotel in or around Orlando, Florida, ground transportation may be provided in lieu of air transportation at the sole discretion of the Sponsor, and no compensation or substitution will be provided for difference in prize value.  Sponsor will make the sole determination whether winner’s residence is greater than 150 miles away from hotel location, using its own methods and tools (e.g., maps, GPS, mileage calculator).  Winner must possess any necessary valid travel documents (e.g., valid government-issued photo ID) and be available to travel between May 11-15, 2020, or prize will be forfeited (at Sponsor’s final discretion).  Air travel will be from a major domestic airport near winner’s place of residence.  Sponsor will determine airport, airline, flight itineraries, and hotel accommodations in its sole discretion.  No refund or compensation will be made in the event of the cancellation or delay of the flight.  No refunds or credit for changes are allowed.  All other expenses and costs not expressly listed above are the winner’s sole responsibility. Travel restrictions may apply.  The actual value of the grand prize is expected to vary based on the point of origination, airfare fluctuations, and hotel pricing.  If the actual value of the travel portion is less than stated, the difference will not be awarded in cash, and no such claim will be honored.

Additional prize details:  All taxes, fees, and surcharges on prize are the sole responsibility of the winners.  If the value of the prize exceeds $600, winners will be issued an IRS Form 1099 for the fair market value of the prize inclusive of sales or other transaction taxes.  Affidavit of eligibility (including SSN), prize acceptance form, tax information, assignment of rights, personal services agreement, publicity release, and/or mutually acceptable liability releases may be required where not prohibited.  Prizes are non-transferable except in the sole discretion of the Sponsor.  No substitution or cash equivalent is allowed.  Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prizes of the same approximate retail value.  Prize consists only of items specifically listed as part of the prize.  All costs and expenses not specified herein, related to any prize, or incidental costs incurred by accepting the prize, are the sole responsibility of the winner.

Publicity release

Except where prohibited, by participating in this Contest, you consent that your name, likeness, voice, and/or biographical data may be used for advertising and promotional purposes without limitation and without additional notice, compensation, or consent.  Specifically, your stories, photos, quotes, and submission elements may be featured in part or in full on the Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth websites, in blogs, on social media, and in other promotional materials associated with the Health Care Culinary Contest. Credit will be given to contributors for materials used.


By entering, entrant agrees to accept and abide by the rules of this Contest and agrees that any dispute with regard to the conduct of this Contest, rule interpretation, or award of prize shall be submitted to Sponsor, whose decision shall be binding and final.  By participating, entrant agrees to release and hold harmless Sponsor, participating dealers and retailers, affiliates, sales representatives, distributors, and promotional and other vendor agencies, their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, service agencies, independent contractors, and the officers, directors, employees, agents, and representatives of any of the above organizations from any injury, loss, or damage to person, including death, or property due in-whole or in-part, directly or indirectly, to the acceptance or use/misuse of a prize, participation in any Contest-related activity, or participation in the Contest.

Sponsor is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of this offer, administration of the Contest, or in the announcement of prizes, including erroneous appearance of qualification for a prize, and under no circumstances will more than the stated number of prizes be awarded.  Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to modify, cancel, or suspend this Contest, or to amend the Official Rules at any time, without prior individual notice, should any factor interfere with the administration, security, or proper play of this Contest as contemplated by these Official Rules. If for any reason Sponsor is prevented from continuing with this Contest, or the integrity and/or feasibility of the Contest is severely undermined by any event including but not limited to fire, flood, epidemic, earthquake, explosion, labor dispute or strike, act of God or public enemy, satellite or equipment failure, riot or civil disturbance, war (declared or undeclared), terrorist threat or activity, or any federal, state, or local government law, order or regulation, order of any court or jurisdiction, Sponsor shall have the right, in its sole discretion, to abbreviate, modify, suspend, cancel, or terminate the Contest without further obligation.  If Sponsor in its discretion elects to so abbreviate the Contest, Sponsor reserves the right, but not the obligation, to award the prize from among all eligible entries received to date.  All entries are the property of Sponsor and are not returnable.

This Contest is intended for viewing in the United States only and shall be construed and evaluated only according to United States law.  Do not enter this Contest if you are not located in the United States.  The use of any automated devices in connection with this Contest is prohibited.  Sponsor assumes no responsibility for computer system, hardware, software, or program malfunctions or other errors, failures, delayed computer transactions, or network connections, whether human, technical, or otherwise in nature.  Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this Contest should virus, bugs, or other causes beyond its control corrupt the administration, security, or proper play of this Contest.  Sponsor is not responsible for any injury or damage to any person’s computer or related equipment resulting from or relating to participation in this Contest or downloading any material related to this contest.  Entries will be deemed made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry.  In the event of a dispute, the potential winner may be required to provide proof that he or she is the authorized holder of the identified e-mail account.

Disputes/Choice of law


Winners' list

Winners’ list to be available on-line for three months on Sponsor’s webpage after CleanMed on May 12-14, 2020.


Health Care Without Harm U.S., in partnership with Practice Greenhealth, 12355 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 680, Reston, VA 20191.