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Cooking challenge honors national nutrition month


Sixteen Northwell Health chefs competed in a "Chopped"-like challenge at Glen Cove Hospital to mark national nutrition month and sharpen their skills for preparing delicious and nutritious food to their patients.

Prior to the competition on the morning of March 8, the chefs were instructed to include three "mystery" ingredients - kale, leeks and sweet baby peppers - in their appetizer, entrée and dessert courses they would create for a panel of four judges. Additionally, the dishes needed to meet nutritional guidelines; all meals needed to have less than 35 percent of their calories come from fat; appetizer and dessert creations were to be less than 250 calories and less than 250 mg of sodium while entrées needed to be less than 450 calories and have less than 500 mg of sodium. The chefs were paired with a team of dietitians and dietetic interns to help achieve these nutritional guidelines.

The competition was judged by Michelin star Chef Bruno Tison, assistant vice president of system food services and corporate chef at Northwell Health and the first-ever Michelin star chef hired by an American health care organization; Sven Gierlinger, vice president and Northwell's chief experience officer; Joseph Moscola, senior vice president and chief people officer at Northwell; and Jeffrey Jacobs, a consultant for Northwell Ventures.

"This competition is part of Northwell Health's effort to create a different level of food quality for our patients, visitors and employees," Chef Tison said. "The food we create needs to fulfill the desires of our patients."

Chefs and registered dietitians from 16 Northwell Health facilities competed in this seventh annual competition. Each year for this competition, Glen Cove Hospital's Pratt auditorium is turned into Northwell's version of a kitchen stadium with stovetop burners, a trove of fresh fruits and vegetables and a pantry. The chefs had 45 minutes in total to create their appetizers, entrees and desserts.

The team consisting of Chefs Thomas Mencaccini from Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Carole Hilly from Plainview Hospital, Claudia Natalio from Lenox Hill Hospital and Nick Pagerie from Phelps Hospital won this year's competition with their eggplant tofu Napoleon with mango sweet pepper coulis; seared day boat scallop with roasted fennel and citrus salad; and banana and strawberries Zabaione.

"This was a great opportunity to learn from a Michelin star chef and to collaborate with other Northwell Health chefs and registered dietitians to make an inventive and healthy three-course meal," Chef Hilly said. "And it's a nice bragging right to have amongst my fellow Northwell Health chefs."

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About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State's largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, more than 650 outpatient facilities and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 66,000 employees – 15,000-plus nurses and 4,000 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We're making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit

Alexandra Zendrian
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