Health Care Culinary Contest: Reimagining Hospital Food


Hospitals from across the country submitted flavorful and healthy recipes to the Health Care Culinary Contest. Entrants embodied the less meat, better meat philosophy, utilized local and sustainable ingredients, and engaged a clinician leader to source and serve a meal that is healthy for people and the planet.

Five finalists rose to the top in Seattle Culinary Academy’s taste test:

  • Lehigh Valley Health Network’s turkey grain bowl
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s red dahl
  • Norton Healthcare’s miso noodle and veggie bowl
  • University of Wisconsin Health’s jackfruit teriyaki
  • Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital’s butternut squash enchiladas

The winner will be announced at CleanMed San Diego, where you can also taste the winning recipe. Join us at the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards Gala on May 9 to meet our winning chef and enjoy this delicious meal.

Meet the finalists

Follow #CleanMedSanDiego on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram for more mouthwatering photos, recipes, stories, and updates on the contest finalists and winner.

About the contest

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.

In 2017, Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth 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. 

Thank you to contest sponsors Compass/Food Buy and Sysco.


How hospitals participated:

See official contest rules for details.

  1. Created a recipe that follows the “Less Meat, Better Meat” philosophy:
    1. Meals could 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 entrants chose to include meat, it was raised without the routine use of antibiotics.
    3. If entrants chose to include seafood, it was a wild-sourced variety.

  2. Cooked, served, and, featured their meals on Food Day, during Antibiotic Awareness Week, or another date between Oct. 2 and Nov. 30

  3. Submitted their complete recipe, along with sourcing details and a high-resolution photo of the chef and the meal.

Points were be awarded for contest participants for:

  • Recipes that were entirely plant-based (vegetarian or vegan).
  • For recipes that included meat, entrants used preferred better meat (i.e. grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork or poultry).
  • Used at least one locally or sustainably sourced ingredient.
  • Secured a clinician sponsor, such as a physician, pharmacist, nurse, or another allied health professional who agreed to participate in the event by assisting with promotion and education.

Submissions were scored according to the rubric criteria, and all recipe finalists were taste-tested by the Seattle Culinary Academy at Seattle Central College.



The grand prize winner will receive:

  • Acknowledgment at the 2018 Menus of Change Summit hosted by the Culinary Institute of America. The attendance fee for the grand prize winner will be waived.
  • A trip to CleanMed 2018, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability, May 7-9 in San Diego, Calif. including flight, accommodations, and meals.
  • The winning meal will be featured, and the chef will be honored at CleanMed.

Approximate retail value of the grand prize: $4,300.

Five (5) finalists will receive:

  • Acknowledgment at the 2018 Menus of Change Summit hosted by the Culinary Institute of America. The attendance fee for the grand prize winner will be waived.
  • Acknowledgment at CleanMed 2018, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability, May 7-9 in San Diego, Calif.
  • Dinner for two at a local farm to table restaurant.

Approximate retail value of each finalist prize: $100.

Winners will be notified in March 2018 and announced at CleanMed 2018 in San Diego, Calif. on May 7-9, 2018. Winners will be listed on this websites after this date.



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



Behind the scenes in the competition:

Inside the Health Care Culinary Contest
Get an insider’s look at the contest. We explain the rules and showcase best practices that may give your entry an edge. Chefs share how culinary inspiration and creativity can create delicious, healthy, plant-forward meals.
View webinar. Download slides.

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.
View webinar.  Download slides.

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.
View webinar.  Download slides.

No purchase necessary, void where prohibited. U.S. residents only. Ends 11/30/17. This is not a game of chance; winners selected based on stated criteria. Official Rules and details available here. Sponsored by Health Care Without Harm U.S., 12355 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 680, Reston, VA 20191.