California chicken was a recent Mommy Meal menu item.

UC Davis Health offers celebratory meals for new moms and their partners


Hospital food is usually the last thing on a new mom’s wish list … until now. UC Davis Health’s Mommy Meals program has arrived.

“When my own children were born, my wife was offered a typical cheeseburger,” said UC Davis Health chef Jet Aguirre. “We wanted to offer something to new parents that would make the patient experience even better. After collaborating with nursing staff, our culinary team put new ideas together, did a tasting and picked three final dishes.”

Braised short ribs, California chicken and a teriyaki vegetable tofu bowl are now main course options in the Mommy Meal that all new moms can enjoy, with substitution requests happily accommodated. UC Davis Health’s culinary team prepares this meal daily for dinner service. New executive chef Santana Diaz, whose resume features several of the region’s leading restaurants, recently joined the team at UC Davis. Together with the culinary staff, Diaz plans to enhance the hospital’s food program with more local, sustainable and seasonal options.

Mom shouldn’t dine alone, so the new menu options are also available to her spouse, partner, or other support person. A bottle of sparkling cider and champagne flutes are also part of the dinner for a celebratory toast.

"This dinner was a very special way to welcome our son into the world,” said Nathan Paulson, whose wife gave birth at UC Davis Medical Center in March. “The food was excellent and it really made us feel like UC Davis values its patients and their families. We loved sharing this special moment with our little family and it couldn't have happened without UC Davis.”