The Catalyst

MUSC culinary team participates in Cooking Well Invitational competition

By Ashley Barker
Public Relations

On the second day of celebrity chef Robert Irvine’s visit to Charleston, the MUSC Health team of chefs from Sodexo participated in the Cooking Well Invitational – a trade show and competition among chefs from 10 South Carolina hospital cafeterias.

MUSC culinary supervisor Martin Neeley slices turkey during the Cooking Well Invitational  competition. The team made edamame nut salad, apricot glazed turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, garlic ginger sugar snap peas and a seared peach pecan granola parfait with vanilla mousse.
MUSC culinary supervisor Martin Neeley slices turkey during the Cooking Well Invitational competition.

MUSC’s culinary team consisted of executive chef III Brett Cunningham, executive chef I Ferando Middleton, culinary supervisor Martin Neeley and retail supervisor Matt Dermanoski.

Together they prepared an appetizer of edamame nut salad with creamy poppy seed dressing. For the entrée selection, MUSC submitted a turkey with snap peas and sweet potatoes dish that included an apricot mustard sauce to the judges from the Culinary Institute of Charleston. To finish up the meal, the team made a seared peach pecan granola parfait with vanilla mousse.

Oconee Medical Center won first place, followed by Palmetto Health in second and Georgetown Hospital System in third place.

All of the participating hospitals were required to have received a Gold Apple recognition from the Working Well Initiative. MUSC earned the Gold Star for making the campus tobacco free, the Gold Apple for having a healthy food environment, and the Gold Medal for being a “fit first – physically active worksite.”

Celebrity chefs Robert Irvine, left, and Marvin Woods arrive at the Demo Impossible event in a limousine on July 25. They were greeted by fans  who lined the entrance.

Irvine, host of the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible series and a former British Royal Navy chef who has cooked at the White House, kicked off the invitational with a Demo Impossible event on July 25 at the Culinary Institute of Charleston.

Irvine and chef Marvin Woods – an Emmy-nominated television host and 30-year restaurant and hospitality veteran – used herbs grown at the MUSC Urban Farm to enhance the flavors in lamb chop kabobs with peach and mango ketchup and turkey burgers with fresh tomatoes, avocado and a mayonnaise-free coleslaw.

During Demo Impossible, Woods also allowed emcees Tom Crawford, meteorologist for ABC News 4, and Mickey Bakst, general manager of the Charleston Grill, to auction off several of his trademark culinary bandanas. They sold for $50 to $150 each. The big-ticket item of the evening came when Irvine sold the chef jacket he was wearing for $500. All of the proceeds from the auction were donated to The Children’s Hospital of South Carolina.

The purpose of both chefs hosting the event was to teach the crowd how to make their favorite comfort foods as healthy everyday options.

Chefs Marvin Woods, left, and Robert Irvine discuss what they are about to cook during Demo Impossible held at the Culinary Institute of Charleston.

“I travel around the world talking about healthy food. It gets a bad rap but it’s all about education,” Woods said. “It’s all about giving people options. There’s a plethora of good food out there, especially in Charleston.”

Irvine, who said he would “absolutely” open a restaurant in Charleston, just completed his 82nd episode of Restaurant Impossible. He told the crowd that 87 percent of those restaurants are still successful and using the techniques he taught them.

“My whole mantra in television is to help people,” Irvine said. “I want to be as authentic as possible. Just keep food simple – the less you do to it, the more delicious it is.”

During his keynote speech on July 26, Irvine discussed a topic that he said was valid in the kitchen and in life.

“Excellence just doesn’t happen. Excellence is created,” he said. “Our job is to create that excellence 365 days a year.”

In addition to learning about healthy cooking and eating from the celebrity chefs, guests were invited to participate in break-out sessions with local experts.

Susan Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Office of Health Promotion at MUSC, taught a session about how the Urban Farm was built and could be replicated at other universities or hospitals. Judith Herrin went over the many nutritional trends that are common now and explained if they are good or bad to follow. Janis Newton, assistant director of the MUSC Wellness Center, spoke about the Healthy Charleston Challenge along with chef David Vagasky of the Culinary Institute.

July 31, 2013
Robert Irvine, middle, speaks to Daniel Island resident Kingsley Feinman, 12. Kingsley, who said he was Irvine's biggest fan, was able to sit on the front row along with his family during Demo Impossible.
Robert Irvine’s executive chef Lee Lucier, left, talks to chef Marvin Woods while touring the MUSC Urban Farm. Freshly cut oregano, basil, rosemary, sage and other herbs grown at the farm were used during the Demo Impossible event.Robert Irvine, middle, speaks to Daniel Island resident Kingsley Feinman, 12. Kingsley, who said he was Irvine's biggest fan, was able to sit on the front row along with his family during Demo Impossible.

Suzan Benenson Whelan, MUSC wellness program coordinator, watches Culinary Insitute of Charleston chef Kevin Mitchell, left, and chef Marvin Woods examine herbs donated by the MUSC Urban Farm for use during Demo Impossible.Chef Marvin Woods signs a copy of one of his books for 12-year-old Kingsley Feinman of Daniel Island.
Suzan Benenson Whelan, MUSC wellness program coordinator, watches Culinary Insitute of Charleston chef Kevin Mitchell, left, and chef Marvin Woods examine herbs donated by the MUSC Urban Farm for use during Demo Impossible.Chef Marvin Woods signs a copy of one of his books for 12-year-old Kingsley Feinman of Daniel Island.
 
 
 

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