Cuisine Rehab: Chef Cary Neff Gives Hospital Food a Much-Needed Flavor Boost

Chef Cary Naff, Flavors 450
CHEF CARY NEFF, left, author of the New York Times best-seller “Conscious Cuisine,” wears a white coat, just like a doctor. And last week, at the opening of his first D.C. restaurant, the outfit definitely fit in. That’s because Flavors 450 — his showcase of seasonal ingredients, whole grains and proper portion size — is located at the National Rehabilitation Center (102 Irving St. NW).

While Neff made a name for himself at luxury spas, he’s now giving hospital grub some critical care. Flavors 450, which features dishes with only 450 calories or less, is designed to dispel myths about nutritious dining. “There’s the idea that healthy food takes too long to make. But this is being made to order in two minutes. There’s the idea that it costs too much. Everything here is under $5,” Neff boasts.

And the taste matches his mouth-watering descriptions: “That’s a sword of black bean, sake and ginger-glazed Portobello mushrooms, over a risotto with turkey bacon — for smokiness — and a root vegetable cream sauce.”

Beyond what’s on the plate, Flavors 450 provides information sheets and recipe cards and, by next year, Neff hopes to bring in a farmers market. “The goal is to create awareness and opportunity,” he says. Expect more of both when Flavors 450 expands to Washington Hospital Center and Children’s Hospital.

Photo courtesy Derek T. Berry/NPH

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