BUSY LADIES: Janet Nicolle, Yvonne Campbell and Janeen Beynon.
BUSY LADIES: Janet Nicolle, Yvonne Campbell and Janeen Beynon.

Busy Christmas starts at 5am for hospital kitchen

CHRISTMAS Day will start for me at 5am.

My role is to collate and plan menus, and to make sure everyone gets the right menu based on their dietary needs.

People don't often realise the effort that goes into planning a menu.

We work with the cooks, as well as our dietitians and speech therapists - for instance, for stroke patients who have trouble swallowing.

Among the considerations for planning the menus are requirements such as gluten free, vegetarian, lactose intolerance, or the need for pureed or minced food.

On an average day, the kitchen would produce about 400 meals for patients (130 breakfast, 120 lunch, 130 dinner), plus sandwiches for the short-stay unit.

On Christmas Day, we'd do 80-100 lunches on average.

I've been at Bundaberg Hospital for about 35 years in a variety of operational roles, the past three in the kitchen.

I've got three grown-up children and my grandchildren don't live locally, so I don't mind working the Christmas shift.

Normally Christmas Day is a bit busier for the cooks because we do a cooked meal for the staff as well as for the patients.

We do some special things for the patients.

They get a hot turkey and vegetable lunch, and have the choice of Christmas pudding and custard or fruit salad for dessert.

Plus we do fruitcake for afternoon tea.

Christmas Day is a really good day.

There's a nice atmosphere.

The decorations throughout the hospital are amazing and patients really appreciate the effort we go to.



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