Tell me about the TurboChef.
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The TurboChef, basically, it’s a combination of convection cooking and microwave cooking. The microwave cooks the inside of the food while the convection browns the outside. So it cooks all at the same time, rather than outside-in, as a normal oven would, or inside-out, as a microwave would.
We have one in the kitchen now. We’re going to be installing four on Thursday (Feb. 28) — that’s the last day for our fryers at Meritus Health. The fryers will get shut down at about 2 in the afternoon, and we will replace them with TurboChef ovens. We can’t do french fries, but we’ll do seasoned potato wedges. We can still do chicken tenders.
As a chef, this would be one of your guiding principles in the kitchen here. There’s an education component. What else is important?
Locally sourcing; and getting the staff to believe in what we do. Not just the kitchen staff — the guys I oversee are obviously important — but the people out here on the front line, speaking to people when they come in. Because they might have a little bit of (upset) — “Oh, no, they’re taking away the fryer!” — but they say, “No, it’s a good thing. Have you tried (this new dish)?” That’s been great.
A lot of people are like 12-year-olds about trying new foods, but Western Maryland gets a bad rap. We’re not that much different from everybody else. We live in the mountains, yeah, but people here still want to be healthy and try new things.
I really didn’t know Robin’s Cove was open to the public.
Oh, absolutely. People come all the time to eat. We have a lot of different foods. A lot of different stations. If you take the kids to a restaurant, it’s kind of the same thing.
So, when you’re at home with the family, who cooks?
I do. Sometimes I use my family as a springboard for stuff we may do here. So I make all kinds of different stuff. I’ll be lucky if I make the same thing twice a year. I also try to stretch a dollar. That’s a big thing with me. And I play with stuff at home. Different fresh veggies, prepared seasonally. Today, we’ll make some ratatouille. I’ll think, “Is this going to work? Can we run this at the hospital? Let’s give that a try.”
Sometimes my wife gets kind of mad, because I’m not saying everything is a hit. Sometimes it’s a big fail, and you can cross that (dish) off the list.
And when you’re hanging with the family, or by yourself, what do you do for fun?
We camp. We fish. We hike. Outdoor kind of stuff. We’re usually all together. The kids like to do stuff and be active. I do fish quite a bit. Trying to cut back. I’m a junkie.
I like to say you don’t have to leave the state of Maryland ever to find things to do. There’s beaches over here, there’s mountains there. There’s always something to do, and you can be basically anywhere in the state in three hours.
I just learned you cater. Just for the hospital, or all over?
Pretty much just in our walls. Meetings, senior administration stuff, doctors’ parties, a lot of events. We average, I’d say, nine events a day.
Nine a day? I had no idea.
A building this size, there’s a lot of different meetings, and everybody gets catered. There’s a lot of standing meetings, like on the second Tuesday of every month. Last month they had this; they don’t want that again, so we do different things for them. You really got to use your head.
But we’re here for patients. Catering is fine and dandy — we get to go to the creative side. But patients —that’s where we really need to have customer satisfaction. So recipe development, things like that, that’s what we look for, ways to satisfy our patients.
(There is a) changing demographic: 20, 30 years ago, we had a lot of (country and small-town families) who wanted more of a homestyle thing. Now, we have transplants from the city who commute back and forth, and from an ethnic standpoint, there’s a lot of different people. (We have more people) that are kind of like, “I don’t want green Jell-O.”
If you go ...
Robin’s Cove at Meritus
Meritus Medical Center
11116 Medical Campus Road, east of Hagerstown
Call 301-790-8000 or go to www.meritushealth.com
Open to the public daily 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.