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By Jim Kight, NW Connection

Recently I have been a “guest” at two of the local hospitals. For those of you who have had similar experiences the one thing you look forward to during your stay is meal time. Traditionally, hospital food could best be described as institutional and tasteless, without regard to presentation or convenience of delivery. However, there is one hospital that has split from the herd, Adventist Medical Center.

To my surprise and delight, they had items that were on their order menu that I would expect in a fine dining restaurant. I thought this was too good to be true. So, I picked up the phone and ordered my meal. It was delivered on time and hot…except for the carrot cake.

For this story, I interviewed Irene Franklin, who is a real fireball and a get-things-done type of person. Franklin is Director of Nutritional Services and a Registered Dietitian.

 How long have you had the personalized menu for patients and the order service?

We started this program in February of 2014. You will notice there are 9 entrées and some 17 dessert items on our menu. In addition, we have pizza, and 15 side items for lunch and dinner. On our breakfast menu with have an omelet bar and breakfast bakery. Our breakfast is served all day. Patients can order by phone or we will canvas patient rooms to make sure you can receive your meal and answer any questions.

 I’m intrigued by your motto. Please share.

I tell my employees to “make every meal like it going to their own grandmother.” We have another maxim, “Eat better, you will recover better; so you have energy to do your physical therapy and heal better.” Patients are happier when they have delicious, good tasting food. “Good food is love.”

 Tell me about your staff.

Our Executive Chef Kirk Iverson has been with us for 44 years. Many of our employees are long term and fully committed to providing the best meals possible for those staying with us.

 What about the “junk food junkies.”

We have comfort food which includes pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken tenders and multiple dessert items. Our menu is in the process of changing to keep it interesting and attractive for all of our patients.

 On the flip side what about the quality of ingredients you use?

Our goal is to serve food that is “house made,” which means most of our items are scratch-made; not out of a number 10 can. They taste better, you feel better, and they have more eye appeal.

 Your kitchen serves others besides your patients. What do you have for other diners?

We have a full-service cafeteria that is totally vegetarian and very popular for those who like to choose what they like to eat. It has bargain basement prices and as an example for $5.00 you can get an entrée and a vegetable side dish. Entrées include pesto tortellini, cashew loaf, peanut noodles, cheese enchiladas and many more. It is the best deal in town, bar none. Besides our air-conditioned dining room, we have a private outside dining area that gives the feeling of being in a park. Our café is open from 6:30am to 6:30pm, Monday through Friday. Weekend hours are breakfast 6:30-8:30am, lunch 11:15-1:15pm, dinner 4:45-6:30pm.

 What is the “First Friday” all about?

We provide a free meal to the public once a month the first Friday of every month. It includes homemade soup of the day, a delicious salad, and healthy bread. Afterwards we provide musical entertainment, motivational speakers in our lower level amphitheater. All this and more for no cost to the general public. Come and bring a friend or family member. Please register in advance for the free meal and fellowship by calling (503) 251-6105. This helps us to prepare enough food for everyone.


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