Skip Navigation

Fort HealthCare team competes for Best Hospital Food title

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fort HealthCare Executive Chef Colleen Miller, Sous Chef Sally Behling, Catering Coordinator Stacy Luisier and Garde Manger (cold foods chef) Ellen Burnett will compete in the Stillwaters Cancer Support Services third annual Hospital Food Fight – a “top chef-type” competition combined with a unique, family-friendly and health-focused event. Chef Michael Feker, founder of the IL MITO Italian Restaurants of the Milwaukee-area, will serve as the Celebrity Culinary Chair and emcee.

Chefs from local hospitals will have one-hour to prepare a meal. Competitors will prepare four portions of a finished protein, starch and vegetable of their choice. The meal must be something that could be served on the hospital’s menu, cost $5.00 or less and not exceed these nutritional guidelines: 600 calories, 700 mg sodium, 100 mg cholesterol, and 30 percent fat. The portion size must be compliant with ADA guidelines, and appropriate for a hospital patient. Meals will be judged on taste, nutritional value, presentation and overall appeal by a panel of four top chefs and food critics from the Milwaukee area.

This year, guests may purchase a seat at the “Executive Tasting Table,” for $150 per person, along with the celebrity chef judges, which comes with the opportunity to taste and score the participating hospitals’ dishes. There are only eight seats available.

In addition to the Culinary Competition, the event will include: Taste Test Stations-food sampling and demonstrations from food vendors, hospitals, local restaurants and grocery stores; Savory Seminars-brief cooking and nutrition sessions from food professionals; People’s Choice Award-an honor given to the Taste Test Sponsor that receives the greatest number of votes from ballots purchased by attendees; and Children’s Area-Get up and Move activities as well as games and crafts for kids of all ages.

Chef Miller, Fort Memorial Hospital’s Executive Chef/Food Service Manager, received her food service training at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in Portland, OR. In her role, she oversees Fort HealthCare’s commitment to providing healthy, nutritious and visually appealing menus for patients, visitors and employees.

A Fort Atkinson native, she has been interested in French cuisine since age nineteen. Having married into the family of musician Steve Miller, she travelled frequently and ate in some of the country’s best restaurants. Miller was further inspired by her mother-in-law, Bertha Miller, who took cooking lessons with Helen Corbitt, a contemporary of Julia Child. Corbitt authored numerous cookbooks and was the first woman to receive the Golden Plate Award, the highest honor in the food business. While living in Texas, Miller served as Assistant Art Director for the Dallas Morning News, in charge of the Food and Wine section. After the death of her husband, Miller decided to follow her passion and become a chef.

“Wisconsin is a cornucopia of plenty,” says Chef Miller. “We have an abundant harvest of good food.” The Steel Away Café, located in the hospital, provides foods that are made from scratch, using local ingredients whenever possible. Smoked Trout Wild Rice hash topped with an over easy egg features trout from Rushing Waters Fisheries, Palmyra. Wisconsin Grass Fed Beef served as tenderloin steaks are from Neesvig’s in Windsor. Honey, when added to hospital offerings, is from an apiary in Helenville. Root vegetables, a frequent menu item, are supplied by Peace of Eden Farm in Fort Atkinson.

Miller’s motivation for participating in the Hospital Food Fight event is well aligned with key elements of Fort HealthCare’s Let’s Do This! wellness campaign- to improve awareness of good nutrition and consequently, to reduce obesity throughout the region. “We are competing in this event to promote healthy nutrition in our communities,” added Miller. “We can control what we put in our mouths and can say “no” to processed foods, chemical flavorings and corn syrup.”

Miller encourages everyone to educate themselves about nutrition and make the right choices to ensure a healthy lifestyle. She reports that many hospital employees tell her of the success they are seeing in their own weight control by eating more vegetables, making good protein choices and including more fish in their diets.

The Hospital Food Fight competition takes place Sunday, March 24 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee. It is open to the public. Adult tickets are $35 per person, children 12 years and under are free. All proceeds will benefit Stillwaters’ cancer support services. Attendees are encouraged to register and print tickets online at For more information, call (262) 548-9148.