Park City Medical Center ushers in new era of cafeteria dining
September 11, 2009
A hospital is not a place that draws people in voluntarily. But the Park City Medical Center may change that.
At the public opening on Tuesday, Sept. 15, Intermountain Health Care will unveil one of the most delectable features of the new facility, the Silver King Café. The restaurant will provide room service for patients, meals for employees and visitors, and it may soon become one of the most crowded lunch counters in town.
Forget congealed jello and lumpy mashed potatoes. Executive chef Jason Kieffer has crafted a rotating menu comparable to those at Park City’s most popular restaurants.
Upon entering the café, patrons first encounter the Park City Perk, an espresso bar with freshly-blended smoothies (plus a kick of spirulina or split pea protein powder, if you’re so inclined), fresh bagels, pastries that don’t contain an entire day’s allotment of calories, and a variety of caffeine-infused concoctions.
Beyond the refueling station is the grab-and-go case a staple for snackers or anyone whose stomach is rumbling between designated meal hours. The case features salads, sandwiches, wraps, parfaits, hummus and vegetable crudités, and other pre-packaged (as in earlier that day, not that week) items.
The main area of the restaurant is equipped with a carving station for a selection of hormone-free, natural meats; a spot for freshly-prepared vegetables and starches; a wood-burning oven for artisan-style pizzas; a cultural station for preparing dishes from around the world; a salad bar showcasing produce from local farmers; and a grill and griddle for items such as buckwheat pancakes and hand-formed burger patties.
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Back in the kitchen, the staff has a small refrigerator and freezer for fresh produce and a pantry stocked with healthy essentials and more exotic items including flageolet beans, red quinoa and jade pearl rice. Kieffer also stores an arsenal of ingredients for those who are diabetic, require gluten-free food or have certain allergies. The staff is more than happy to customize meals based on dietary considerations, he notes.
Kieffer began his culinary career as a private chef responsible for preparing meals tailored to a special diet. "I found myself in the library more than I was in the kitchen," he says. He decided to return to school to study nutrition and naturopathic approaches to healing.
Kieffer then spent five years working for Microsoft, catering to the palates of Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates. He started a vegetarian-based program for Microsoft’s global clientele and trained chefs from all over the world.
He moved to Park City two months ago and has found that his vision as a chef meshes well with that of local food lovers. His goal, he says, is to take a conscious approach to eating and to educate consumers about healthy lifestyles. The kitchen will serve sensible portions and cut back on added fat, sodium and sugars whenever possible, he says.
Kieffer also brings to the establishment more than 1,000 vegetarian and vegan recipes and a passion for fresh, organic ingredients. By partnering with local growers and vendors, he ensures that the Silver King’s kitchen is stocked with the freshest produce available.
"I’m a firm believer in supporting the local environment and economy," he says. To do that, Kieffer has partnered with local businesses such as Park City Coffee Roasters and Wasatch Bagel Café.
His farm-to-table philosophy complements the hospital’s environmentally conscious attitude. He plans to reduce the restaurant’s ecological footprint by using ceramic dishes and eco-friendly materials such as biodegradable containers. Kieffer also wants to institute a composting program in the kitchen and reuse frying oils for biodiesel fuel.
Room service from the Silver King will be included in the cost of an overnight stay for patients. The restaurant will be open to the public seven days a week.
Silver King Café hours of operation:
Breakfast 7 to 9:30 a.m.
Lunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Dinner 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Snacks 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.