The last thing that people want to worry about when they come to hospital is their food. They’re here for other reasons and, hopefully, they’re going to get better. If you’re in the hospital, you probably don’t want to be here to begin with, so it can be a tough crowd.

My famous grilled cheese

Bryan Johnson

Supervisor, Food and Nutrition, Union Hospital

Outdoorsman, Adventure Seeker

On the flip side, a lot of people look forward to that meal because that’s one of the few things they can look forward to besides going home. We try our best to give them something that they’ll enjoy and something that’s going to brighten their day a little bit.

I’m not a doctor, but I know that when you’re served something that you enjoy or that you’re looking forward to, it can lift your spirits. I believe food can be healing. If it’s having that grilled cheese or some type of a fresh meal, then we definitely want to do that for our patients. It’s a good feeling knowing that I’m doing the best thing I can for someone who is in need.

Four-star experience

Working in kitchens and working in health care, you’re working a lot, working on holidays and on weekends, so it does become a little family. And that’s what I really like about working here. I chose Union because it was my local hospital. I’m from Northeast, Maryland, so I like helping my community.

I have a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from the New England Culinary Institute. Back in the day, would I have imagined working in a hospital-type setting? No. Every culinary school kid goes in thinking they’re going to be the next Emeril or cooking channel star. But it’s a really good feeling even when my days are crazy or hectic to know that I’m helping people who are sick. It’s not as glamorous as being on the Food Network, but it’s still it’s very fulfilling. It’s a very fulfilling career.

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