Calling All Chefs: Assist Families at the Penn Transplant House

Clyde F. Barker Transplant House gardenFor many people, choosing the Penn Transplant Institute requires traveling far from home, which can be challenging throughout the transplant journey. As they explore transplant, receive consultations while waiting for an organ to become available and begin their recovery after the surgery, they have to navigate these new experiences in a large, unfamiliar city, without their typical community of support.

To support these patients and their family and friends who are caring for them, we built the Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House. The House provides a conveniently located guesthouse – a home away from home for transplant patients and their families and caregivers. Volunteers are invited to join us to share a touch of kindness and comfort that helps make the House a home, and nothing says comfort like a home-cooked meal.

You and your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are invited to donate an evening to the Guest Chef’s program and prepare and share a meal with our out-of-town guests. We've found that this really helps ease the stress associated with meal planning and preparation.

Quick facts and how to help

If you're interested in serving as a guest chef at the Penn Transplant House, here are some quick facts about the program and ideas for participation.

Number of Guests

The anticipated number of guests is confirmed on the Friday afternoon prior to the meal date, when most new reservations are made. The number of expected guests for the following week may increase.

Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House interior

It's perfectly acceptable to cook food in advance and simply reheat it. The Transplant House has two ovens, and different dishes can be cooked at the same time. Guest chefs may arrive several hours ahead of time to prepare the entire meal, but they are asked to notify the house manager prior to their arrival.

Kitchen Supplies

The Transplant House has a fully stocked kitchen with pots, pans, cookie sheets; cooking, serving and eating utensils; and bowls. It has all of the dinnerware and glassware needed for the meals, as well as a food processor, blender and hand-mixers. If there is a unique item needed to prepare the meal, please check with the house manager to find out if it is available.

Meal Planning and Dietary Restrictions

Since meals are not prepared each night and guests are not always the same, specific dietary needs and restrictions of guests are not known. Previous dinners have consisted of both patients and family members of patients. A typical meal may include: soup or salad, a protein, a starch, veggies, dessert and a beverage. (Please note: The Transplant House is an alcohol-free facility).

To be as welcoming and hospitable to all of the guests as possible, a vegetarian option should be available for each meal. Having a diabetic option for the desserts is also helpful and has been greatly appreciated by guests in the past. If you would like help in creating a meal plan, or would like to speak with someone about meal ideas, please contact the house manager, Kirsten King, at 215-662-4540.

Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House interior


Dinner is generally served between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. Please let the house manager know prior to the date of your dinner what your anticipated meal time is, so the guests may be notified and plan accordingly.


Since this house is also home to its guests, anyone who uses the kitchen is asked to clean up. To assist in the cleaning process, the house has three dishwashers, as well as the necessary cleaning supplies for the counter tops and kitchen surfaces, readily available.

Be Our Guest

The guest chef program is a fun way for individuals and groups to get involved in the important support the house provides. Our guests are always appreciative of the food and community building, as well as the generous gift of time and talent that each guest chef gives.

For more information on becoming a guest chef or to schedule a dinner with the Transplant House, please contact the house manager, Kirsten King, at 215-662-4540.

About this Blog

The Penn Medicine Transplant blog features short postings with news about the transplant program at Penn Medicine, notices about upcoming events and health information. Subscribe to the blog and stay connected with Penn's Transplant Program!

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