Written by Vina Cristobal, University Health Partners of Hawaii
Featured photo: A screenshot from Jordan Brache’s cooking demonstration (see at the end of the article). Courtesy photo.
At the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in spring 2020, Jordan Brache, an avid athlete and dancer, took up a common quarantine hobby: cooking.
As a result of his newfound passion, the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM)/University Health Partners (UHP) Department of OB/GYN administrative assistant and “self-proclaimed foodie” pitched the concept of producing a cookbook for the department-wide holiday gift at the end of that year.
His colleagues ate up the idea; thus, the cookbook was born.
With the help of program administrator Lisa Kellett and the OB/GYN administrative staff, Brache collected 35 pages of recipes, which led to the publication of Get Your Cook On!, the first edition of the OB/GYN holiday cookbook. Every recipe was curated by faculty and staff, and “allowed [people] to share their cultural backgrounds with one another,” according to Brache.
Some of the recipes include fun tidbits shared by those who participated. For instance, Dr. Melissa Natavio’s banana chocolate chip cookies, which are a recipe from her mother. “May each little delectable cookie represent a big hug from my mom,” Natavio stated. “I hope you find them just as special.”
Other highlights include Dr. Emilie Stickley’s simple chili (usually served when guests visit her home), Brache’s shoyu chicken, Kellett’s cornbread, and Dr. James DiMarchi’s baba ganoush (a dish he fell in love with while he was in Istanbul post-residency).
“Through cooking and eating, we hope this will generate great conversations, awesome celebrations and new memories with family and friends,” Kellett noted in an e-mail sent to her fellow colleagues.
“It really was a team effort behind the scenes!” exclaimed Brache. “Although I was the one that shared the idea, the entire administrative staff had some important role in the development of the final product — from recipe contribution, editing the aesthetic, etc. The initial email was sent out to the department in early October, which gave faculty and staff enough time to contribute any recipes by the first week of December.”
The cookbook is just one of the ways that the Department of OB/GYN develops a sense of community, which Brache appreciates about his workplace.
“When I first started working for UHP in the fall of 2019, I had recently graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa,” Brache explained. “Fortunately I was accepted into UH’s Master’s program for Public Administration, and I wanted to get some work experience in the healthcare setting while I obtained my graduate degree. My significant other also became a [second-year student] at JABSOM that fall, so I thought it would be enjoyable to work underneath the same entity.
“I feel delighted to be part of a team who supports our agency’s mission to deliver not only the best medical services to the public, but also in the most compassionate manner. In addition, the department really stresses the importance of teamwork and fosters a sense of ‘ohana, which I thoroughly appreciate.”
Watch the full cooking demonstration below: