UC Davis Health sous chef Jet Aguirre mixes in the ingredients for spiced Sacramento paella, which includes sturgeon bought from Passmore Ranch in Sloughhouse.

Hospital food: It's something most people don't typically associate with the words tasty, fresh or sustainable.

However, UC Davis Health Executive Chef Santana Diaz and his team are changing that -- and people are taking notice.

UC Davis Medical Center became the first hospital in the nation, and the first Sacramento venue, to be awarded the designation as a James Beard Foundation Smart Catch Leader.

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.

UC Davis Health was featured on CBS Sacramento after being designated a James Beard Smart Catch Leader.

“This designation is unique because it’s unusual for a hospital’s food services program to qualify for such an accomplishment,” Diaz said. "As part of UC Davis Health's farm-to-fork emphasis, we view supporting clean, sustainable foods as a way to complement good health because it also involves a healthy environment."

The award has given Diaz and his team an additional platform to discuss their efforts at the hospital and why it's so important to the community's overall health.

Following the Smart Catch designation, the Food and Nutrition Services team was featured on several news programs:

Related blog: Your guide to healthy seafood and why you should eat more