Preparing healthy food with love and care is an essential aspect of the recovery process here at Tully Hill. We believe eating healthy foods can help patients maintain stable blood sugar levels, which can reduce cravings while helping patients restore their physical health and build a strong foundation for their mental well-being.
“The work we are doing is important” says Food Service Director and Head Chef, Bob Leogrande; “We make sure our patients are treated like guests we are hosting in our own homes. Their day starts with a beautiful breakfast. We are here early making the coffee, ready to greet our guests with a balanced meal of protein, fruit and a little comfort in the form of coffee cake, muffins or biscuits. We know what some of these patients are going through, we understand the work ahead of them, and we want to start their morning with love and the right fuel for their work ahead.”
Leogrande believes it is just as vitally important to serve comfort and care with balance and nutrition.
“On Sundays growing up in an Italian house hold, we would all gather together for pasta and sauce. That’s my comfort food; it brings me a feeling of home and ease. I want the patients and staff here to feel that as well.
Every Sunday, we make sauce and homemade pasta. I make the dough the day before and all throughout the day patients ask ‘what kind of pasta are we having for Sunday Dinner?’ It makes me proud of what we do here at Tully Hill. We are a home away from home, where you can find the way back to yourself”.
Leogrande and the Tully Hill Kitchen Crew spread their care one step further through cooking demos in the great room. Recipes for the demos are thoughtfully created to be cost-effective and use only a few ingredients. From homemade ricotta gnocchi to rice Arancini and “Sunday Sauce” using fresh ingredients from our own Tully Hill Serenity Garden. Patients can watch, take notes, and participate in the cooking demo each week.
“They love cooking demo days, they put in requests and tell me all the time how much they look forward to it. I love hearing about how they plan to cook for their loved ones when they get home. ” We talk to our patients about nutrition as a high form of self-care. Preparing a meal for yourself or someone in your life is a way to show love. Patients at Tully Hill miss their friends and family greatly and often reflect on the people in their lives who prepare special dishes or meals that stood out to them. “My hope is they will go home, prepare a homemade meal for those they love and talk, knowing we are sending them love from our kitchen.”
– Robert Leogrande.
After years of self-abuse from addiction and mental health, our patients learn to care for themselves and others all over again. Leogrande and his team have found a great opportunity to teach that lesson while encouraging and inspiring patients to cook together as a family or for themselves. Our patients are excited to talk about recipes from their childhoods, comfort foods they loved and how they plan to bring these new practices home with them. The kitchen is one of many spaces in Tully Hill where self-love and self-care practices are taught and modeled, but for many of our patients it is the favorite.