For the second year in a row, UC Davis Health’s hospital café received a prestigious designation from The James Beard Foundation as a Smart Catch Leader.

“We are once again the only hospital in the nation to achieve this designation two years in a row (2019, 2020) from The James Beard Foundation,” UC Davis Health Executive Chef Santana Diaz said. “We have officially procured more local and sustainable fish year over year.”

UC Davis Health’s café is also the first Sacramento venue to receive this designation.

The foundation’s Smart Catch program is a sustainable seafood education platform that encourages chefs and restaurants to serve seafood that has been fished or farmed in environmentally responsible ways.

Diaz and his team have continued to put an emphasis on farm-to-fork dishes served not only to visitors at the hospital café but also to patients and staff. The team works to source most of the food locally, which also puts money back into the local economy.

For example, staff purchase fresh fish from Passmore Ranch in Sloughhouse – less than 20 miles away from UC Davis Medical Center.

“We are trying to communicate the agricultural health benefit regarding carbon footprint, true community fiscal benefits, and a proactive educational message of good food for all from a healthcare position,” Diaz told The James Beard Foundation’s Good Food 100.

Diaz and his team are working to transition the stigma of hospital food from “not so great” to an educational platform that includes health and delicious taste.


UC Davis Health is 1st hospital in US to win seafood sustainability award

Your guide to healthy seafood and why you should eat more