By Tiffany Frieson, Nutrition Services Manager/Clinical Dietitian
Happy National Nutrition Month Kern River Valley!
Kern Valley Healthcare District (KVHD) has been busy celebrating National Nutrition Month by celebrating new food flavors, providing educational handouts, and one big debut of a new innovative piece of foodservice technology! KVHD would like you all to meet the new Nutrition Services employee named … Sally the Salad Robot!
Yes, the new employee is a robot who makes custom salads and even bowls 24/7 in the cafeteria dining room! Sally debuted at KVHD on March 9 at 11 a.m. on Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. The debut included a ribbon-cutting ceremony with a dedication speech led by Tiffany Frieson, the Nutrition Services manager/clinical dietitian, who spearheaded the Sally robot project. Matt Clark, kitchen supervisor; Mark Gordon, chief nursing officer, and Tim McGlew, chief executive officer were all alongside Frieson during the ceremony.
In March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the operation of the lunch self-service salad bar in the KVHD Café was taken out of operation. Customers loved the salad bar and the ability to make a meal that was healthy and exactly what one wanted. Customers were disappointed when the salad bar was taken out of operation but understood that the salad bar posed an infection control risk. The KVHD Café is open for breakfast from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Unfortunately, there are no dinner options for staff or visitors.
Frieson was eager to find a solution to the problem. She identified a scalable, innovative foodservice technology to address the lunch self-service salad bar and infection control issue with the realization and acceptance that food availability was also lacking for staff and visitors in the evening. The innovative technology is Sally the Salad Robot from Chowbotics, a DoorDash company that just debuted.
The KVHD Auxiliary and Foundation funded the project; without those two organizations this purchase would not have happened. Thank you so much to them and the community that support the thrift store and the foundation’s fundraising events. Sally has the ability to provide healthier food choices for staff and visitors 24/7.
Sally has 22 canisters that hold the menu ingredients. When the 22 canisters are full, Sally can make about 40-50 meals. Sally has the ability to make breakfast bowls, cold lunch bowls and salads. KVHD’s Sally has five pre-set options: Classic Caesar Salad, Cobb Salad, Chicken Brown Rice Bowl, Spinach Berry Salad and Cheese Tortellini Salad and the option to customize your own. Salads start at $3.99 before tax. Payment method is by credit card. KVHD welcomes the community to come visit the café and make a Sally robot salad.