According to Sian Langford, FM manager at the hospital, this new responsibility has led to the hospital developing its plant-based menu options. Between them, the seven-strong team provides patient meals at the 200-bed hospitals as well as serving food to 1,600 staff and visitors in Denbigh’s Restaurant.
Catering manager Dan Hoggett decided to take one of the newer chefs, Gill Edwards, with him to a Chester Academy event. Gill came back from the event determined to introduce more plant-based food onto the hospital menu.
Langford said: “The difference when Gill came back, though, was remarkable. It was like night and day. She walked out of that event and took the ideas she’d been given and ran with them. Previously the catering team had worked in quite a structured way; the menu development was done by Dan and then the cooks followed on.
“We ran some of her plant-based and vegetarian options down at the bottom of the menu, but quickly Gill’s dishes became the top seller of the day. We even had staff asking for the recipes; her coconut and cauliflower curry was a particular favourite.
“We’ve tried to be careful with the wording or suggesting people should be choosing them. We’re simply now pushing the dishes as a special of the day, not as something plant-based, and they have become the restaurant top sellers.
“The move was supported by our dietitians and we did not remove any meat options, we simply swapped things around so that the plant-based option was at the top of the menu. Uptake of the plant-based meals has increased as a result.”
Langford said that visits from Phil Shelley and the NHS England team had really helped them take the next step, which was to put them on to some of the patient menus.