Friday, June 22, 2018

Schwan’s Chef Collective partners with Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital

Schwan's Chef Collective members Michael Gunn, left,
and Todd Erickson recently participated in a Kitchen Collaborative
with Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Chefs and healthcare food-service team partner to create new pizza recipes for patrons

June 22, 2018 — Our Schwan’s Chef Collective recently teamed up with Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, to consult and brainstorm new ideas to elevate the hospital’s pizza menu. Participating chefs included Director of Culinary Michael Gunn and Chef Todd Erickson.

The initiative was a three-day event. Activities included immersing in food trends, meeting with food-service staff from Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital, touring the facility and observing dining patrons to get an idea of what types of flavors and recipes would be well-received.

Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital is the flagship hospital of the Park Nicollet system. It has a total of 426 beds, a staff of more than 850 people and serves an average of 2,400 meals a day.

Schwan’s Chef Collective Manager Polly Madsen said the team focused its efforts specifically on pizza because it is one of the most popular menu items.

“We knew going into this that the healthcare food-service team at Methodist is already doing a great job serving appetizing meals for both guests and staff, but we all saw opportunity to bring the pizza program up a level,” Polly said. “For our pizza recipes, we wanted to create craveable and innovative varieties that would elevate their menu. We wanted the recipes to delight the guests — the last thing you want a hospital guest to worry about is the food — and to be fresh enough that returning staff patrons wouldn’t get bored with the options.”

Some goals going into it were to create at least two pizza “builds” and at least one new pizza application (e.g., a calzone or Stromboli).

The chefs needed to create pizzas that would be broadly appealing to a diverse hospital-patron base. Their task was to bring flavors that would deliver a wow factor beyond basic cheese and pepperoni and develop recipes that could easily be recreated using ingredients found in the hospital’s pantry.

The team also captured videos of the recipe creation process that will be shared on social media so others can try the pizza recipes.

In the kitchen, the chefs used Schwan’s Food Service, Inc.'s Villa Prima® Starter Crust sheeted dough, Scratch Ready® partially popped pizza, and Oven Ready® fully topped pizza. Using the varying products was intentional so Schwan’s could show the healthcare food-service team different ways that the pizza products could be used and customized. Recipes were made using single- and multi-serve Villa Prima products.

As a result of the collaboration, the team developed new pizza varieties that included Philly Cheese Steak and Barbeque Chicken pizzas as well as Ham and Gruyere Pinwheels.

Polly said next steps following the Kitchen Collaborative will be to share new recipes with Methodist Hospital and other healthcare operators in time for the Association for Healthcare Foodservice conference happening in Minneapolis in August.

Schwan’s Chef Collective was formed in 2015 to help Schwan’s on its journey to identify food trends and bring delicious concepts to life.

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