Kid-Friendly Hospital Food… How do we do it?

Parents know that kids can be finicky eaters… especially when they don’t feel well.

That’s why Nationwide Children’s was one of the first pediatric hospitals in the country to launch on-demand room service for our patients called Kaleidoscope Cuisine.

Kathy Grover, our Director for Nutrition Services, Assistant Director Jason A. Campbell, Executive Chef Quinn Hannon

Kathy Grover, Jason A. Campbell, and Quinn Hannon

The idea is simple… kids order what they want – when they want it. Hundreds of meals are made to order each day by our kitchen teams led by two Executive Chefs, one trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Assistant Director Jason A. Campbell , and the other from the famous Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts, Executive Chef Quinn Hannon.

Chefs prepare everything from scrambled eggs made to order to build your own omelet and everything in between. For children with special dietary needs the team works with computerized menu planners to ensure food choices are safe and within nutritional guidelines. There are more than 15 base menus that children can choose from that include everything from Gluten-free to foreign-language menus/food choices such as Hispanic and Somali. If a child’s choice isn’t on the menu, that’s not a problem as we can honor nearly every special request.

What foods are most popular? No surprises here… Build-you-own sandwich, omelet, pizza, burger, baked potato and top-your-own chili are top requests.

Assistant Director Jason A. Campbell CookingParents can also order their own tray with the same on-demand choices (at an affordable cost of $5.34 per meal) and everything is delivered hot and delicious directly to patient rooms. Our average delivery time is 45 minutes – better than your local pizza shop!

This entire program was the brainchild of Kathy Grover, our Director for Nutrition Services. Kathy is always looking for new ideas and great recipes to share with her team. A recent focus group with teen patients will result in build-your-own burrito added to menu.

Drop Kathy an email with your recipe suggestions. She also works 1:1 with parents who have children with complex allergies. With 24 hours’ notice she makes personal shopping trips get in special food choices not in our pantry. Way to go Kathy – Bon Appetite!

Chili Recipe

20 half cup Portions


  • 11 oz ground beef
  • 1 1/2 oz chopped onion
  • 45 oz tomato paste
  • 60 oz kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 oz celery
  • 1 oz green pepper
  • 1 oz red pepper
  • 50 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 20 oz tomato sauce

Cooking Directions

  • Brown Ground Beef, add celery and onion, cook until tender, add all other ingredients and simmer 2 hours.
Donna Teach
Donna Teach is Chief Marketing & Communication Officer at Nationwide Children's. Her job is to help the hospital feel "connected" – Connected to each other, connected to our patients and their families, referring physicians, the community and the world.

2 thoughts on “Kid-Friendly Hospital Food… How do we do it?

  1. Debra Roush on said:

    I just seen this artical on my facebook and noticed Kathy Grover’s picture.I wanted to say My Son had an appt. at the clinic there and we had some time and went to get lunch,low and behold Ashton can only eat puree foods so we thought mashed potatoes and they were not serving this day,But Kathy overheard and went down stairs and got him the potatoes,I would like to extend my graditude to her,Thank U so much Kathy
    Deb Roush

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