Shopping list

The head of the hospital keeps his shopping list local

Guest of the month on Face to face with Chancellor May shows that not only can hospital food be tasty, but the people who prepare it can be renowned chefs.

Santana Diaz, executive chef for UC Davis Health, oversees the production of more than 6,500 meals each day. He served as the head chef at the Golden 1 Center and Super Bowl 50, and this year will oversee the exclusive Tower Bridge dinner (September 12) which is part of the Farm to Fork festival in Sacramento.

“When you’re making a tackled run for 823, the logistics of playing that can be tough,” he told Chancellor Gary S. May.

But Diaz isn’t just about quantity — he focuses on quality food and sources ingredients as close to Sacramento as possible. Not only does this support local farmers and ranchers, but it has made the hospital’s supply chain more robust during the pandemic.

Santana Diaz

“When some places were having freight issues…we actually didn’t have any issues with our food because we were sourcing from within the state – and much of it within a few hundred miles. “, did he declare.

Diaz is the son of immigrants and comes from a family of ranchers and farmers in Mexico, and knows the importance of both food and agriculture. He said a year and a half after joining UC Davis Health, the hospital had gone from 16% local and sustainable ingredients to 41%. The hospital has since won two “Smart Catch Leader” awards of the James Beard Foundation for Sourcing Sustainable Seafood.

His team is also working to establish partnerships with others in the region. The Sacramento City Unified School District will soon use its new industrial kitchen — which will prepare 30,000 meals a day — to process ingredients for use by UC Davis Health.

Watch the full video above to learn more, including Diaz’s ‘favorite bite’ in the region, the food he can’t live without, the career path he almost took and how the Chancellor hopes that UC Davis Health’s food program will have an impact on the community.

Face to face with Chancellor May launched in March, and the last five episodes are available online, with:

  • Akshita Gandra, a senior specializing in cognitive sciences who founded The Revival Zinean online publication aimed at giving voice to students across the country who write about feminism and social justice.
  • Theanne Griffith, assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology, School of Medicine, who is also an author of children’s books.
  • Jennifer Gross, the head coach of the women’s basketball team.
  • Richard Michelmore, director of the UC Davis Genome Center of the architect of rapid COVID-19 testing on the university campus.
  • Mahiri Moore Jr.a student with his own nonprofit organization focused on engaging black and Latino youth.