Health Care Culinary Contest: Reimagining Hospital Food

By purchasing ingredients that are healthy for people and the planet, health care food professionals are reimagining hospital food’s potential one meal at a time.

The Health Care Culinary Contest is an opportunity for clinicians, hospital food purchasers, and chefs to connect to create a recipe that expands our definition of protein and recasts its role on the plate.

Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth have teamed up with Menus of Change, an initiative of The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to judge recipe applicants and crown a winner to be honored at the 2018 CleanMed Conference in San Diego, Calif.

How to participate:

See official contest rules for details.

Detailed contest rules and judging criteria will be released on Sept. 26 during our Inside the Health Care Culinary Contest webinar.

  1. Create a recipe that follows the “Less Meat, Better Meat” philosophy:
    1. Your meal can be plant-based (vegetarian or vegan) or use a less-meat strategy such as blended meat or meat as a condiment (1.5 oz or less per meal).
    2. If you choose to include meat, it must be raised without the routine use of antibiotics.
    3. If you choose to include seafood, it must be a wild-sourced variety.

  2. Cook, serve, and, feature your meal on Food Day, during Antibiotic Awareness Week, or another date between Oct. 2 and Nov. 30. (Don’t forget to take photos.)

  3. Submit your complete recipe, along with sourcing details and a high-resolution photo of the chef and the meal by Nov. 30.

Bonus points will be awarded for contest participants that go above and beyond. Here’s how:

  • Your recipe is entirely plant-based (vegetarian or vegan).
  • For recipes that include meat, you use preferred better meat (i.e. grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork or poultry).
  • You use at least one locally or sustainably sourced ingredient.
  • You secure a clinician sponsor, such as a physician, pharmacist, nurse, or another allied health professional who agrees to participate in the event by assisting with promotion and education.

How to win:

All recipe finalists will be taste-tested. Judging criteria will be released on Sept. 26 during our Inside the Health Care Culinary Contest webinar.


The grand prize winner will receive:

  • Acknowledgment at the 2018 Menus of Change Summit hosted by the Culinary Institute of America.
  • A trip to CleanMed 2018, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability, May 7-9 in San Diego, Calf. including flight, accommodations, and meals.
  • The winning meal will be featured, and the chef will be honored at CleanMed.
  • More prizes to be announced as the contest moves forward.

Winners will be notified in March 2018 and announced at CleanMed.


There will be several times throughout the contest such as Food Day (Oct. 24) and during Antibiotic Awareness Week (Nov. 13-17) to celebrate each facility's contribution to reimaging hospital food. The best photos, recipes, and stories will be featured in blogs, newsletters, on social media and a special livestream hosted on our websites.

Join the conversation. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use the hashtag #hospitalfood and together we will literally change the conversation about the kind of food that is served in health care facilities.

Submit your recipe starting Oct. 2.

Get an edge on the competition:

Inside the Health Care Culinary Contest
Sept. 26 4 p.m. EST
Join us for an insider’s look at of the contest. We’ll explain the rules and showcase best practices that may give your entry an edge. Chefs will share how culinary inspiration and creativity can create delicious, healthy, plant-forward meals.
RSVP for webinar.

Clinical meets culinary: your health professional sponsor
Oct. 10 3 p.m. EST
A physician, pharmacist, nurse, or another allied health professional can sharpen and amplify the conversation around reimagined hospital food, showing how small changes can have an impact on individual and public health. This webinar will help you find the best pro for the job.
RSVP for webinar.

The Better Bird: Egg-cellent sourcing criteria and practices
Oct. 11 4 p.m. EST
This webinar, featuring speakers from a variety of health care facilities, explores criteria and pathways for purchasing poultry and eggs raised without antibiotics.
RSVP for webinar.