Hospital's Farm Fresh Soups
Premiered at Tasting

SHC Farm Fresh
The Hospital’s Executive Chef Beni Velazquez, President and CEO Martha Marsh and chef / author / restaurateur Jesse Cool hosted the Farm Fresh tasting.

No one collected votes to determine the crowd favorite of the eight new Farm Fresh organic soups served up Monday for a special tasting by more than 100 Hospital employees. Sampling  opinions one by one, however, the verdict was clear―the soups are good, from the roasted sweet pepper with goat cheese to the cream of spinach with nutmeg and white pepper.

“It’s delicious,” said administrative assistant Jaime Pena, as he finished off his little paper cup of chicken noodle soup with vegetables, “and I feel the same way about the spinach.”

The Farm Fresh soup-tasting event was the public debut for the first set of choices in a program that adds fresh organic ingredients, locally and sustainably grown, to the Hospital’s daily menu for patients. Created in collaboration with celebrated organic food chef and cookbook author Jesse Cool, the Farm Fresh program not only adds to the Hospital’s overall healing environment, but also serves the Hospital’s larger purpose.

SHC Farm Fresh
A tray set-up of the chicken noodle with vegetables soup option: the broth is delivered in a covered cup, so it stays hot until it is added to the vegetables; the baked stuffed apple dessert's honey-yogurt sauce comes on the side. The meal also includes organic whole grain bread and unsalted butter.

“We all know how integral healthy food is to the healing process. This will help people talk about health and nutrition throughout their lives,” said Vice President for Medical Affairs Kevin Tabb, who joined President and CEO Martha Marsh to kick off the tasting. 

Marsh championed the program’s development after a conversation over dinner with Cool and Robert Robbins, the Hospital’s Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery. Robbins met Cool at her Menlo Park restaurant, the Flea St. Café, whose menu features fresh organic ingredients.

Cool told the assembled tasters that she was inspired to think about hospital food after her father and mother had had hospital stays and asked her to bring soup from her restaurant.

SHC Farm Fresh
A long line of employees waited for their turn to taste soup. Visible in this picture are the carrot ginger soup with curry, the potato leek soup and the cauliflower soup with rosemary.

The existence of the Farm Fresh soup option is making its way around the units. Nancy Galler, who has tasted the food while visiting a family member at the Hospital, said a dietary technician pointed out the new menu to her. “It’s true food,” Galler said.

Helen Hong, a registered dietician at the Hospital, came with two of her colleagues to sample all the soups. “Our patients want to eat healthy,” Hong said. “And anyone can understand soup. Plus, it sits on the stomach well.”

When people don’t feel well, “they don’t like to eat anything heavy, so this is great,” said Patsy Obayashi, another registered dietician at the Hospital. “This is a very nice change and very tasty!”

SHC Farm Fresh
Registered dieticians Patsy Obayashi and Neha Shah approved of what they tasted.

Registered dietician Neha Shah said she’s heard, while doing her patient rounds, that the soup is something many patients are able to eat when they don’t feel up to much of anything.

Monday’s introduction of all the soup choices even convinced one Hospital employee to change her mind about a certain vegetable. “This is the best cauliflower soup I’ve ever had,” said Hospital Chaplain, the Rev. Susan Scott, “and I don’t even like cauliflower!"

The Hospital’s Executive Chef Beni Velazquez enthusiastically joined in the program’s planning, fine-tuning and Monday’s tasting. “We may not be doing ‘Mom’s Pot Roast,’ but we are doing something to help patients feel better,” he said. 

SHC Farm Fresh
President and CEO Martha Marsha and Vice President for Medical Affairs Kevin Tabb joined the tasters.

One last tidbit―the Farm Fresh menu choices also include a dessert, too: baked stuffed apple topped with honey-yogurt sauce. The tasters thought that was pretty good, too. The food technicians couldn’t keep up with the demand and the supply was quickly gone.

About Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Stanford Hospital & Clinics is known worldwide for advanced treatment of complex disorders in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer treatment, neurosciences, surgery, and organ transplants. Consistently ranked among the top institutions in the U.S. News & World Report annual list of "America's Best Hospitals," Stanford Hospital & Clinics is internationally recognized for translating medical breakthroughs into the care of patients. It is part of the Stanford University Medical Center, along with the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, visit

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