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Hospital Chefs Show Off Their Chops in Cooking Competition

March 19, 2013

Live from Lenox Hill Lenox Hill Hospital chefs sliced their way through the North Shore-LIJ Health System’s “Ultimate Chef Healthy Entrée Challenge” competition on Thursday, placing third in the second annual cooking competition. Chefs Patricia Sobol and Johnny Beniquez won third place for their shrimp dish that had a tomato saffron broth and a parsnip and celery root puree.

Chefs from 13 of North Shore-LIJ’s hospitals and facilities diced, sautéed and blanched at Glen Cove Hospital’s Pratt Auditorium during the competition to create tasty, appealing and healthful dishes. The competition, which was held during National Nutrition Month, helps to show that hospital food can not only be healthful but it also surpasses the stereotypes of being bland and boring.

During the competition, chefs had access to a pantry, stove top burners and a farmers’ market. Each team was given 45 minutes to make a nutritious and delicious meal that was rated by three judges -- Adrian Ashby, an administrative associate at North Shore-LIJ who competed on Food Network’s “Chopped”; Joyce Shukri, RD, a healthcare specialist at Sysco Foods; and Robert Graham, MD, a physician at Lenox Hill Hospital who specializes in complementary and integrated medical therapies. All of the dishes had to be no more than 500 calories, 15 grams of fat and 600 milligrams of sodium; health system registered dieticians evaluated these recipes.

“Our system wide annual chef competition gives our culinary team the opportunity to showcase their talents to their peers and to the community. Not only is this a venue where they can publically boast their talents, but it is an opportunity to share ideas and creativity,” said Karen Travali, Director of Nutrition Services at Lenox Hill Hospital. “Our industry has taken a turn away from stereotypical hospital food and is moving in the direction of a restaurant quality menu for our patients.”

To see a video about the chef’s competition, go to:

Ultimate Chef 3rd Place Winning Recipe - Shrimp with Tomato Saffron Broth & Celery Root and Parsnip Puree

Live from Lenox Hill Facility’s Name: Lenox Hill Hospital
By: Chef Patricia Sobol and Chef Johnny Beniquez
Dietitian: Melanie Leitner
Serving Size: 3oz Shrimp, ¾ cup Celery Root & Parsnip Puree, 8 Asparagus Stalks
Servings: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Secret Ingredients: Shrimp and Celery Root


4 PortionsShrimp
12 ouncesShrimp
2 TBSGarlic, minced
8 eachPlum tomatoes
1/2 mediumOnion, diced
1/8 teaspoonSaffron
1/8 cupWhite wine
1 TBSParsley
1 teaspoonCumin
1/2 cupOrange juice
1 TBSButter
10 ouncesAsparagus
 Celery Root
2 cupsCelery root, peeled and chopped
2 cupsParsnips, peeled and chopped
2 TBSParsley

Directions: Puree Celery Root with Parsnips

  1. Place the celery root and parsnips into a sauce pot. Cover the root vegetables with water so they are all submerged.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce. Cook the vegetables until they are fork tender.
  3. Drain and puree the vegetables with parsley until smooth. You can use a blender or an immersion blender. Reserve hot for service.

Directions: Shrimp

  1. Combine the 1 TBS minced garlic, cumin and white wine.
  2. *Peel and devein all the shrimp. Add the cleaned shrimp into the marinade for 15 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the other tablespoon of minced garlic, tomatoes, onion and sauté on high heat.
  4. Squeeze ½ of an orange over the pan.
  5. Add the shrimp to sauté pan with 1/8th teaspoon of saffron. Cook until the shrimp are opaque and just cooked
  6. Add 1 oz butter to finish the sauce.

Directions: Asparagus

  1. Trim the asparagus from their woody bottoms. Peel the lower portion of the trimmed asparagus stalks if they are large.
  2. Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until they are tender and still bright green. Quickly take the asparagus out of the boiling water and shock them in ice cold water to stop the cooking and retain their bright green color.

Directions: Plating

  1. Place ¾ cup of celery root & parsnip puree onto the center of a dinner plate.
  2. Re-heat the asparagus on a dry sauté pan adding just a drop of water to bring the asparagus back up to temperature. Portion ¼ of the asparagus onto the dinner plate (about 8 stalks) so that they are draped over the puree.
  3. Portion 3 oz of shrimp next to the asparagus. Pour some sauce over the dish. Repeat for all 4 plate. Serve Hot.

Nutritional Information:
307 Calories, 10 grams Fat, 150 milligrams Sodium

*Note: You can purchase shrimp already peeled and deveined