Catering team preparing festive feasts

Many of our patients will be with us over Christmas, and our staff work hard to ensure that all of the people in our care get to enjoy the festive season – including our patients who have difficulty swallowing.

Here, Gareth Waters, our Head of Restaurants & Catering, shares what his team are up to this Christmas…

“At St Andrew’s Healthcare, we started planning our patient and staff Christmas events and menus in August.

“Traditionally we have always included meals for the clinical staff that work on the festive days over Christmas so they can join in with the patients on the wards; this increases demand on the kitchens, doubling the numbers. As you can imagine this puts extra strain on catering staff and equipment.

“We provide special festive menus for seven meals over Christmas and New Year, with three-course lunches and hot and cold evening buffets. The buffets allow catering staff to get away early and have some time with their families, but of course someone has to stay and be on call to assist with any problems - this falls to our head chefs who take it in turns on the festive days.

“Christmas day has to be Turkey with all the trimmings and a vegetarian option, and this year we are serving roast leg of Lamb for New Year’s Day.

“We used to serve a cooked breakfast on Christmas Day, but have found that our patients prefer a lie in on Christmas Day, so this year we are offering our normal light breakfast instead.

“It is a challenge for our chefs to come up with interesting different dishes for four buffets, but they have, and this year we include dishes like brie and cranberry loaded jackets, Jamaican patties, gingerbread and lemon Bakewell tart, along with the staples that our patients enjoy.

“We also have about 40 Dysphagia patients, and our special diet kitchen has been busy preparing texture modified traditional Christmas meals with all the trimmings, puddings and mince pies all at different grades.

“Our team will also be supporting all of the other events that take place across the charity - including the 4,000 mince pies, Turkey rolls and mulled fruit punch which were enjoyed at our recent Christmas Market, along with Christmas cakes for each ward.”

Our award-winning catering team keep nearly 900 patients and our staff fed and watered every day.

While they’re being cared for at St Andrew’s, our patients can choose from a variety of food and drink options. We have recently introduced new picture menus for our patients, to make them more accessible so that people can make healthy choices. Picture menus are now available for both our standard and dysphagia menus.

Please click here for more information about our dysphagia kitchen