You’d probably never think of hospital food receiving the same high marks as two well-regarded Sacramento restaurants. Well, UC Davis Health’s food staff has done just that.

The health system’s menu joined the ranks of Mulvaney’s B & L and Magpie Café on the national Good Food 100 Restaurants list for 2019.

"We're thrilled to recognize UC Davis Health as the first health system in the nation to participate in the Good Food 100 Restaurants,” said Sara Brito, co-founder and president of the nonprofit Good Food Media Network. “Everyone knows good food is essential to good health. It just makes sense that food service operations like UC Davis Health are essential to fixing our broken and sick food system."

The annual Good Food 100 Restaurants list names an assortment of eateries from fast casual to fine dining to food service businesses that “seek to redefine how chefs, restaurants and food service businesses are viewed and valued.”

The list spotlights restaurants and food services that help build a better food system by supporting local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and purveyors.

For UC Davis Health’s Executive Chef Santana Diaz, the recognition underscores the health system’s focus on high-quality meals with locally sourced ingredients that help reduce waste.

“We like to say that ‘good food is good medicine’ because what we serve is part of the healing process,” Diaz said. “Not only do we have phenomenal physicians, nurses and clinical care teams, but we also have a healthy, whole foods program, too.”

Another example of UC Davis Health’s commitment to sustainability was its designation as a James Beard Foundation Smart Catch Leader. This tells consumers that fish dishes at the hospital meet specific standards for environmentally appropriate and sustainable practices.

Sky Bacom-Slavin, patient services manager for UC Davis Health Food and Nutrition Services, helps ensure nutrition quality for thousands of meals each day. She echoed the importance of being a healthy agent for change.

“Hospital food traditions used to mean we simply opened a can, poured from a box, or just added water to a pre-packaged mix,” Bacom-Slavin said. “Now, like great restaurants, we’re really working hard to provide real, whole and good-tasting foods that are healthy and nourishing. And we know they have the power to heal, too!”

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