Monthly archive for April 2013

RWJ’s Nicholas Mercogliano – Earns Certified Chef de Cuisine

RWJ’s Nicholas Mercogliano Earns Certified Chef de
Cuisine Designation from American Culinary Federation

Congratulations to RWJ Chef Nicholas Mercogliano for earning the Certified Chef de Cuisine designation from the American Culinary Federation!

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is the nation’s largest organization of professional chefs, and it operates the only comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States. The ACF has awarded more than 20,750 certifications since 1973 and is the only certifier of U.S. master chefs and master pastry chefs.

Candidates for certification must have a high level of work and educational experience, and pass a written exam and a practical exam, which is three hours and covers required skills such as preparing chicken consommé, velouté sauce and espagnole sauce.

The candidate is required to prepare two portions of one chicken for the main course, using at least two cuts of the bird. For the first course, the candidate is required to prepare two portions of one flat fish combined with one of the other seafood basket components. In addition, candidates must complete coursework in food safety, nutrition and supervisory management.

A Certified Chef de Cuisine® is the supervisor in charge of food production in a foodservice operation.

Congratulations again to Nicholas for this notable accomplishment!

GNJSHFSA Donates $6,000 to Community Food Bank of New Jersey

We Care!!!

Healthcare Food Service Administrators in NJ Contributes to the Hungry

Annually, the third Thursday of November at the Westwood in Garwood is the day where Healthcare Food Service professionals come together to learn, network with peers and vendors and to acquire information on the latest trends impacting the profession of Healthcare Food Service Dining. This year in the wake of Super Storm Sandy the learning took on a larger dimension and a greater passion.

Sponsored by the Greater NJ Society for Healthcare Food Service Administrator (GNJSHFSA) this year’s theme, Beyond Our Plates, brought home the realization to all that we need to push ourselves past our comfort levels to excel… to go beyond. Close to 200 attendees packed the conference room and exhibit hall to glean knowledge to further their success in the management of feeding healthcare recipients, the staff who cares for them as well as visitors and family members.

The $25.00 registration fee for each attendee along with additional donations from members and business partners resulted in the GNJSHFSA collecting funds to donate $6,000 to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

This seminar and exhibit is the main revenue generator for the association. The Board of Directors feels strongly that even though funds are shrinking, it would be important to make this donation of funds especially since Super Storm Sandy impacted most of our members professionally and personally.

If You’re Healthy, You’re Wealthy Recipe

Sustainable Eating, Salad

Greek Farro Salad

Yield; 4 portions, 6oz. each.

Kitchen Equipment Needed:

1 ea. chef knife
1 ea. large mixing bowl
4 ea. 6” salad bowls
1 large sauté / frying pan
1 ea. cookie sheet pan
1 ea. small sauce pan


To cook Farro:
10 oz. Farro about 1.5 cups
4cups of vegetable broth
1/4tsp of kosher salt
To make salad:
1.5 cup fresh diced tomato
¼ cup finely diced red onion
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup fresh picked oregano leaves
2 tbsp. Olive oil
3 tbsp. red vinegar
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Step (1) In medium saucepan, combine 4 cups of vegetable Broth with the Farro and salt. Boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat about 20 – 25 minutes. Until the Farro is tender with fork fluff Drain well and transfer to cookie sheet spread cool in refrigerator. Until chilled

Step (2) Once the Farro has cooled in large mixing bowl, add the diced fresh tomato, red onion, crumbled feta & fresh oregano stir gently to combine. Squeeze a fresh lemon over top and add olive oil, red vinegar; mix well.

Health &  Hellness Fun Facts: Farro is a whole grain that is an excellent source for complex carbohydrates.
Additionally, Farro has twice the fiber and protein than modern wheat. Different than some other whole grains, a
carbohydrate in Farro called cyanogenic glucosides has been found to stimulate the immune system, lower
cholesterol and help maintain blood sugar levels. While Farro does contain gluten, the gluten molecules are weaker
than modern wheat, making it more easily digested. More detailed facts regarding faro’s nutritional value: 1 cup of raw Farro contains, 170 calories 1.5 g of fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg of sodium, 34 g of carbohydrates, 5 g of dietary fiber, 2 mg of iron, 6 g of protein, 4 mg of niacin, 60 mg of magnesium, 2 mg zinc.

Prep & Cook time: 15 – 25 minutes
Plate assembly Time: 5 minutes

Kimberly Lalchand – Dining Room Aide/Cashier

Employee Spotlight

Kimberly Lalchand, Dining Room Aide/Cashier at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospial, has been a part of the Food & Nutrition team since 2009. She is a model part time employee who is attending Rutgers University full time.

At her young age she is viewed as a strong leader in The Dining Room. Kimberly knows every station and does all of them extremely well. She has a contagious smile and is our ambassador when it comes to customer service.

She is always willing to work around her school schedule in any capacity which she is needed. We now use her skills as a trainer for our employees in handling all their mandatory yearly in-service requirements.

She also supervises when needed covering vacation and holiday schedules. Kimberly is in her junior year majoring in Communication and minoring in Digital Communication,Information and Media.
Her goal after graduating from Rutgers is to continue working for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in the Human Resource Department.

Nicholas Carpenito – Diet Assistant – Overlook medical Center, Summit NJ

Employee Spotlight

I will start this nomination at the end by my final comment, he gets it!

Nick is a Diet Assistant with us here at Overlook Medical Center. In his duties, he is required to collect menu selections, make therapeutic changes and other such tasks. Nick truly hit the ground running.

Nick’s interest in Nutrition and food service came during his service in the Air National Guard as an F-16 Crew Chief of which, he is still serving our country. His enlistment in the service was a result of his passion to help others after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Having to put his initial goal of medical school on hold, Nick enrolled in a nutrition program with a concentration in dietetics to ultimately obtain his RD. He selected this path because he felt that it would afford him an opportunity to make a sustainable difference in people’s lives. Nick noted that he felt his Military conditioning and discipline would position him to better advance the agenda of good nutrition. By teaching people what they need to know to make the right food choices ultimately, would give them a much greater control over their present and future health.

Here at Overlook, Nick takes his duties very seriously and constantly goes the extra mile. He helps in the kitchen in many ways to enhance the patient experience and does so, on his own accord. He goes as far as to aid the patients by getting blankets and other sundries. He displays qualities that are very difficult to teach, they just come naturally to him. He has bridged gaps between our operationally areas effectively and in a collaborative manor. He strives to continually challenge himself and does so in a selfless and compassionate way.

An example of such was my suggestion to him for this nomination. His immediate response was to nominate one of his colleagues first. One of his first experiences here and in healthcare food service was a very brief interaction with a patient. As he shared this story with me, I could see the revelation on his face. He went on to tell me how he took a few moments to help a patient and to crack a quick joke.

He made the patient laugh and the patient commented how that was the best medicine for him at that point. He made a difference in a person life. Nicks acknowledgement of the significance of that moment brought him light years ahead of many who have been in the industry for years. Right out of the gate, he gets it!

Top Trends in Healthcare Foodservice

“Top Trends in Healthcare Food Service – Essential information to keep your operation current”
Speaker: Lynne Eddy, MS, RD, FADA, LDN, CHE

Whether you are in a medical center, hospital, LTC, Rehab, CCRC (assisted care/independent care living or SNF), or memory care, volume production is essential to the care of patients, residents, and customers alike. After the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed on March 23, 2010 by President Obama, an additional 30 million more people have had access to healthcare. It is growing exponentially with each year, which means food service operations must also grow at the same rate.

What are the trends in healthcare food service today? You may be able to guess some of them. In no specific order, these are the top ten Lynne Eddy, Assistant Professor of the Business Marketing Department of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Hyde Park, compiled together and shared with us at the GNJSHFSA Educational Seminar:

  1. Patient Centered Care – We are moving towards service that provides specifically to the needs of the
    patient. Become a designated Planetree member to ensure patient satisfaction and performing well on
    the HCAHPS.
  2. Hotel Style Room Service – Facilities have 18-24 hour room service nowadays. Resident satisfaction
    is high and consistent in CCRC due to individualized service. The pod concept-dual station replaces old-
    fashioned assembly lines. Separate teams of staff are designated to work at the pod or delivering trays
    on the floor.
  3. Cooked to Order – Also known as, A La Minute. Hello, flashed foods. Goodbye, Saran wraps. New
    production equipments, for example, the microwave convection oven, make preparation of room service
    orders instantaneous.
  4. Sustainability – Get rid of that container of dried parsley! If the population that you serve cares about
    where there food comes from, it is important to get them involved. This is predominantly seen in
    independent care living with activities like gardening.
  5. Electronic Medical Records and POS BOH Tickets – Beginning this year, the integrated computer
    system has become more prevalent. Everything will soon be real time and accuracy will be more
    crucial than ever.
  6. Retail Dining for Staff – Wellness for employee staff related to cafeteria food should be just as
    promising as wellness care for the patients. What kind of options do you have in the Grab and Go
    section? Do you offer fried foods daily?
  7. Upscale “5 Star” Catering – There is a need to change the eating habits of the medical professionals.
    Why not cater “Certified Healthy” foods?
  8. Restaurant-Style Menus – Menus display a variety of entrees to choose from. Static teaching tools are
    being used to identify or categorize food items. Wellness choices are included on the menu. And all
    printed on elegant card stock.
  9. Bottom Line – Maintain and maximize positive patient perception, increase rate of discharges, decrease
    readmissions, embrace staff wellness, and last but not least, put hospitality back into hospitals.
  10. Classically Trained Chefs – Who does not love “Top Chef”? Yes! Cooking competitions take place in
    the healthcare arena. Last but not least, chefs step outside the kitchen? Yes! Chefs are interacting with residents to ensure quality of food and service.

Pick a few of the top ten trends and make them the focus for your operations in 2013!

Guest Blog – Accountability In The Workplace And Campfire Stories

Accountability In The Workplace And Campfire Stories

Are they scary?

This guest blog post by Kathy Kelly, Master Certified in The Accountability Experience training by Linda Galindo, speaks to the fear often associated with accountability in the workplace and speaking up in organizations.

Campfire stories are great when they are told around an ac-tual campfire, on an actual camping trip. The story teller has free license to make the story as scary and dramatic as pos-sible. Details are added and embellished each time the story is told. The listeners are drawn in and the story sinks deep in their consciousness; perhaps to be repeated by them at some future campfire…with even more fanciful details added.

Campfire stories are not so great when they are told in orga-nizations, about the organization or certain people in them. These are the stories that are told and retold, with added de-tails and embellishment. As each new employee comes on board, the campfire story is repeated, in hushed tones. The stories relate, vaguely, to some part of the culture or people from the past, long gone.

“Watch out for the Senior Management here! They really hate it when people bring new and creative ideas to their at-tention. In fact, the last person who did was let go that same day.” The story is told for years and years, with new, more dramatic details each time. “If you try to approach middle management with suggestions, it goes in your personnel folder and you are labeled as too aggressive.” “This organi-zation retaliates; there is retribution for stepping out of line.”

When we go into an organization and talk about holding others accountable, asking lots of clarifying questions, and taking the risk to self-empower, often times the participants exchange ominous glances. Then one brave soul, with a face pale at the thought of holding others accountable, says, on the condition of absolute confidentiality, “There would be immediate retribution and retaliation if we tried to do that here.”

Is it true? Or is it a campfire story? Either way, believing it to be true gives people a perfect “excuse” not to implement the accountability tools and behaviors.

If the CEO is asked “Is this true?” the immediate answer is nearly always “Of course not. We value input, questions and clarity from all staff. Why it says so, right in our mission statement.” But is it true? How can the CEO determine if it is true?

First, it is important to know that once the CEO sets out to find out the truth, expectations are created among staff. Expectations for change and improvements. For instance, if the CEO finds out that there is some basis to the stories of re-taliation, then the expectation will be created among the staff that she will make that stop. So, CEO’s, look deep inside and determine if you are going to “own” this process.

So how to determine the truth?

Begin by making it known far and wide that you are going to study the organization’s Campfire Stories. Explain what you mean by this term. Let your senior staff take the question to their staff: is there a Campfire story related to retribu-tion? Ask them to come back to the next senior staff meet-ing with at least one Campfire Story each. Encourage them to ask their directors, managers, supervisors, and front line staff. If there is a company newsletter, use it to let people know that you want to understand the stories and any basis in fact, especially those related to retribution and/or retaliation.

When the Campfire Stories start to come in, study them. Look for the threads of truth, commonalities and scary details.

In one organization, the former CEO had been very dictatori-al, and felt that only he really had any good ideas. He wanted to be surrounded by “yes” men and women, and rewarded them for that behavior. This management style had filtered down through the organization. The new CEO was the ex-act opposite: collaborative, inclusive and wanted others to challenge her. But the culture throughout the organization continued with the old cultural style. The Campfire Stories still held some scary truths down to the front lines.

Once you determine the whys of the Campfire stories – be accountable. Publicly. Without drama or emotion. Then be clear on what the new culture is and that in the future any hint of retribution or retaliation will be dealt with seriously and immediately. Modeling accountable behaviors will be rewarded.

Create a culture where no one has a Campfire excuse for not acting responsibly and accountably. Let the new stories be about the heroes in the organization who douse the doubt, live in the now, and build raging fires of productivity that draw the best and brightest to them.

-Linda Galindo


Renuka Verma, a Nutrition Service Worker – Employee of the Month

Hunterdon Medical Center honored Renuka Verma, a Nutrition Service Worker IV/ Cook with the Employee of the Month award in October 2012.Renuka has worked in the nutrition department for over 6 years and was chosen for her commitment to the organization’s mission, vision and values.

These are some of the great qualities that were mentioned in her nominations:

  • Renuka comes to work every day with a calm demeanor and a smile on her face. She is described as a person who is intuitive, sensitive, spiritual, and kind. She brings continuity to a sometimes very hectic department.
  • She never thinks of herself and can sense when someone else needs assistance.  She is the first to offer an extra set of hands to ease a coworker’s workload.  She continues to volunteer for shifts when the department is short staffed and has done so many times over the years, even during lengthy periods due to leaves of absences.  There are many examples of times she has graciously switched her days off to accommodate the needs of others, which frequently meant this eliminated the need to use overtime to cover the gap. She is often heard saying “you can call me anytime. I will help you. Just let me know!”
  • Renuka wears many hats from assisting the cook, Maternity tray passer, salad aide to day care prep. She is always willing to fill in wherever and whenever needed to assure the department runs smoothly.
  • She makes sure she communicates low or out of stock items to the supervisor and is exceptionally diligent about sanitation.
  • She is very detail oriented and ensures that the sandwich, cheese and/or fruit platters look wonderful. When she delivers maternity trays, she always checks each patient’s water pitcher and fills it as needed.
  • She mentors the evening high school students and has trained multiple new employees in the roles that she has served. These students and employees state that she is a very thorough teacher and makes it easy to learn the various jobs.
  • Her friendliness crosses all generations from the high school students she mentors to being a friend to the more seasoned employees. Fellow employees mention they love to work with her.
  • When the room service program was implemented in 2009 Renuka learned many new skills in the cooking arena and has demonstrated that this is one of her major strengths. She has since made suggestions on improving recipes or processes in the kitchen.
  • Twice in the last several years Renuka was chosen by her fellow employees to represent the department at the GNJSHFSA October dinner dance during Food Service Workers Week.

Congratulations Renuka!!!


President’s Message

Another year has quickly passed us by and what a year it was! We are well on our way into 2013 and looking forward to another exciting year.

I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Michael Atanasio, our 2012 president. Michael provided sound leadership and inspiration throughout the year. Not only did he put together and amazing calendar of events, but also under his leadership, we now offer on- line registration for all of our events and mem-bership renewal. I would also like to thank our Board of Directors for providing their experience and “attitude” yielding another successful year.

Through the collaboration of the Board and our Vendor partners we were able to offer amazing educational and networking events. For the first time, our members experienced hands- on culi-nary training and took part in a Leadership Com-petency Workshop. Because these events were so well received, we will be offering them again this year. Additionally, on behalf of the Board, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to our Vendor Partners.

It is because of their generous support that we are able to provide these educational and networking oppor-tunities to our members. I am sure many of us are happy that spring has finally arrived. Michael Garofalo, poet, professor and creator of the award winning Spirit of Gardening web-site wrote, “The force of Spring—mysterious, fecund, powerful beyond measure.”

Spring is a time of hope and renewal. The possibilities of what the future holds are awakened in this season. Because we work in healthcare food service, we have a tremendous opportunity, or better yet, responsibility, to make decisions that will positively impact the future health of our patients, employees, communi-ties and the environment.

Several New Jersey facilities have already signed The Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge. If your facility has not, I challenge you to join the more than 480 health-care institutions nationwide that have. It will also be essential for our vendor partners to become familiar with the vision of the pledge so that we may work together and move forward with shared aspirations. Together, we can become leaders in shaping food systems that are protective of both public and environmental health.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve the GNJSHFSA and its members at large as president for 2013. My goal this year is to bring a greater sense of engagement through interactive resourc-es and events that resonate with our members. In order to provide members with the most benefit, the board is committed this year to providing con-tinuing education credits at all of our monthly events.

Please visit our web-site often. There you will find up to date activity information, a source for best practices, regulatory updates and a resource for jobs. Our 2013 events will help enhance your professional development in the areas of culinary expertise, health and wellness, patient satisfaction, emergency management and leadership.

I encourage you to come out to our events not only for the learning experience, but because the networking opportunities are price-less. If you haven’t done so already, renew your membership at GNJSHFSA has an exciting year planned for you and we want you to be part of it!

Sincerely, Dawn Cascio, RD

2013 GNJSHFSA President

Overlook Goes High Tech!

Overlook Goes High Tech!

Overlook’s “Hate to Wait” Program

Hospital staff are notoriously known for large appetites and short break times. In effort to improve the flow of the cafeteria’s serveries and reduce the customer’s wait time while still providing flexibility in their eating schedule, we are launching our “Hate to Wait” online ordering system.

With this system, the customers can access our cafeteria website via any mobile device, laptop or desktop PC and place their order for their meal. Orders can be scheduled for a future time or be ready for pickup in as little as 20 minutes.

Orders that are received are dispatched on a KDS (Kitchen Display Station) and are printed out in the designated hot and cold areas. They are then assembled by the expediter and placed in our  onvenience Store for pick up. All orders are paid online by credit card therefore it is a pick up and go process.

What’s Next?

Future plans will include a delivery service to the employee’s work area and to visitors in patient’s rooms. We will also launch our virtual C-Store offering everything from sundry items to catering packages!

Page 1 of 212