At Memorial Sloan-Kettering, comfort food has taken on a new meaning. In a hospital that treats thousands of cancer patients a year, having familiar foods (especially if you’re just 8 years old), can make a huge difference in outlook and appetite. MSK’s executive chef, Pnina Peled, uses her creativity to cater to pediatric patients.
Sloan-Kettering patients, too, order meals from one of 75 room-service menus — kosher, halal, vegan, low-sodium, etc. But Ms. Peled said that when she started, she saw that patients who did not find anything appealing on the menu often would not eat at all, which motivated her to make the food service more flexible.
She has a culinary staff of 35 from diverse backgrounds catering to the special requests of patients, particularly the younger ones, who come to the renowned cancer center from around the globe. In recent months, one chef has been serving dal, curries and rotis to a 16-year-old patient from India; another has made yellow rice for a 3-year-old Latino boy who wanted the version like his mother’s; and a third devised a menu of low-microbial foods for an 8-year-old girl from Italy who wanted dishes that reminded her of home, like fish Francese (it has a lemon sauce).
And what does Ms. Peled think about her unusual job?
“Food is about bringing people together and making them happy,” she said. “I might not have realized this when I started my career, but to do that for people who have cancer is the reason I became a chef.”
Beautiful. Full article at NYT.