Cairns Hospital kitchen prepares for busiest day of the year

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A much-loved tropical dish is back on the menu by popular demand for Cairns Hospital patients on Christmas Day.

About 40 dedicated hospital staff have spent the past four days preparing enough food to service approximately 1800 meals throughout the day tomorrow.

The menu includes a mix of traditional Christmas fare such as roast pork with apple sauce and gravy, and a Christmas pudding for lunch, and pavlova with fruit compote for dinner.

This year will also see the return of fish fillet with a mango salsa – by far the most popular dish last year.

Brenton Miller, Food Services Senior Supervisor at Cairns Hospital, said a hospital stay during Christmas could be a difficult time for patients and their families.

‘We take Christmas Day very seriously here in Food Services, our staff do an amazing job he said.

‘We know that our patients would much prefer to be at home with their friends, family and loved ones.

‘So, if we can give them just a bit of comfort on the day with our menu, that’s a job well done.’

He said each item on the menu was devised in consultation with dietitians, to ensure it was not only delicious but also nutritious.

‘For us, there is a careful balance between giving people a memorable Christmas in hospital, while at the same time meeting their nutritional needs,’ he said.

‘For example, some of our patients may not be able to tolerate solid foods, but they are still able to enjoy a delicious Christmas pudding or a black forest cake for dessert.’

Mr Miller said that as usual, all food is sourced either locally or Queensland, where possible.

‘There is a huge amount of food being prepared, as we speak,’ he said.

‘For example, we will be serving up around 200kg of vegetables; 65kg of roast pork; 42kg of scrambled eggs; 30kg of bacon rashers; and 35kg of fish served with mango salsa.

‘There is then also 100 serves of vegan bean casserole; 160 Danish pastries; 320 plum puddings with custard; and 320 pavlovas.

‘If you are in hospital on Christmas Day, we are doing our best to make this a Christmas to remember.’