We recognize how important maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet is to the healing process. We also understand that your appetite and tastes may change during cancer treatment.
The culinary team at Western Regional Medical Center (Western) provides healthful, specially prepared meals to suit your culinary desires and selective tastes.
Our culinary team
Executive Chef Frank Caputo leads the culinary team at Western. The team works closely with our Nutrition and Metabolic Support Department. Together, both teams strive to understand your needs and ensure that the food you eat complements your cancer treatment.
Caputo and his family have been involved in the food and beverage industry for a long time. "My mom and dad are both Italian," explains Caputo. "I realized what I wanted to do when I was sent to Italy at a young age to work with my grandparents on their farm. We raised livestock and made wine - it was great!”
Caputo graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. After many years as an entrepreneur in the restaurant industry, he realized that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. That's when Caputo moved from Florida to Goodyear, Arizona, to join CTCA as the Director of Culinary Services for Western.
“I never dreamt I would be so fulfilled in my career,” says Caputo. “My job here is about going beyond the call of duty. It is about finding the best organic, hormone-free ingredients and creating healthy, flavorful meals.”
Having worked at other CTCA hospitals for years, Sharon Day, Director of Nutrition at Western, knows the impact a proper diet and optimal nutrition can have during your fight with cancer.
Our culinary experts constantly develop new recipes containing organic, low-preservative and low-fat foods to help you maintain proper nutrition during your cancer treatment.
“Everything we put in our bodies affects us to some degree," Day says. "Cancer can cause malnourishment and vice versa. We want to address this early on by educating our patients and providing healthy meals during their stay.”
At Western, your nutritionist works closely with our chefs to select ingredients high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. “Our fruits and vegetables are organic and our meats are low-hormone or hormone-free," explains Caputo. "You are going to find the best stuff available in our Café. We’ve built relationships with local farmers and they give us top-notch products.”
Day says that she and Chef Caputo talk every day about how to meet the unique needs of CTCA patients. “If a patient feels like a dish not on the menu, Chef Caputo will make a meal specifically for that patient,” explains Day. Providing patients with their favorite comfort foods is one example of our Mother Standard® of care in action.
Sometimes cancer treatment affects taste buds. The culinary team at Western uses spices and herbs that are pleasing to your changing palette. Our team wants you to enjoy food just as you did prior to your cancer diagnosis.
“Often patients come here not knowing how the food will taste or if they will be able to appreciate it when undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy," says Day. "They are amazed to find out that the food is flavorful and that their favorite dishes may even taste better when prepared with organic ingredients."
Another unique feature of our Cafe is our fresh juice and smoothie bar. Many patients choose to drink juices or need smoothies to supplement their daily requirement for calories and protein. Patients and their caregivers can visit the bar for a wide selection of freshly made juices prepared to order.
The Café is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and serves a la carte items throughout the day. You may also order meals directly to your room or to the Infusion Center if you are receiving chemotherapy.
Scheduled meal times are as follows:
- Breakfast – 7 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
- Lunch – 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Dinner – 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.