Two UW Health chefs win culinary competition with a very special recipe
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Two chefs at UW Health won a national culinary contest with a recipe they made for refugees from Afghanistan.
Shekeba Samadzada and Dan Hess are chefs at UW Health who have a very special recipe for a traditional Afghan stew called vegetable korma, says UW Health.
They used this dish to win the Health Care Culinary Contest, which is a national competition put on by Health Care Without Harm, Practice GreenHealth and Menus of Change, the latter of which is backed by the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The story behind the dish starts in 2021, when the Taliban took control in Afghanistan, upon which Wisconsin started accepting refugees at Fort McCoy. Some of them were sent to UW Health for recovery, which hit home for Samadzada, who had fled from the country herself. She moved from Pakistan to the United States in 1991, according to UW Health.
“We wanted to give these families a little taste of home and make it feel less like a hospital stay,” Samadzada said. “My mother taught me this recipe at a very young age and it’s wonderful we were able to win this national award because it has such an important meaning.”
UW Health says that the recipe is not only popular with patients, but also with staff and visitors. They go on to say that it fits in line with UW Health’s vision, according to Megan Waltz, director of culinary services and clinical nutrition at UW Health.
“We have a supportive culture that helps everyone on their wellness journey by feeding them quality food and meeting their unique needs,” Waltz said. “We are so proud of Shekeba and Dan because they are helping to showcase and elevate meals we serve and erase the stereotype of ‘typical’ hospital food.”
Currently, UW Health has many openings in Culinary Services. UW Health offers full benefits, flexible schedules with starting rates at $17/hour and cooks start at $17.50/hour with pay differentials for evenings and weekend shifts. Applicants can apply here.
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