Forget what you’ve been told . . . hospital food passes the taste test

Work experience student Richard Hatch samples the food from Grantham.
Work experience student Richard Hatch samples the food from Grantham.
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THE thought of hospital food to some is the stuff of nightmares: poorly cooked, bad tasting and in some cases, simply unhealthy.

Recently, Channel 4’s Dispatches programme highlighted endemic problems with food served to patients across the NHS.

So following a report in last week’s Journal that food at Grantham Hospital had been rated as ‘excellent’, I was ordered out of the office by the intrigued Editor to find out for myself whether the food was more Michelin star, or Michelin tyre.

After being handed a menu, I could have been excused for thinking I’d walked past the hospital and into a restaurant.

The menu, which changes daily, had a choice of 15 meals and sides, with a further 16 for tea.

Patients are also able to choose a small, medium or large portion.

I was reliably informed by the facility manager at the hospital, Ian Hayden, that every meal is carefully planned by dieticians and nutritionists, which meet the demands of strict guidelines.

I opted for the chicken korma curry, which fought off competition from gammon and Scotch egg.

To my disappointment, it wasn’t served with a lager, so a glass of water had to suffice.

The meal proved that the poor reputation foisted upon hospital food is totally unjustified.

Having never been (un)lucky enough to sample hospital food before, I was admittedly taken in by the horror stories we hear so much about, but the food ticked all the right boxes: it was warm, and it wasn’t dry or tasteless.

One thing that did surprise me was the saltiness of the curry. I thought such a generous amount of the white stuff would be off limits for a hospital chef, and it had me reaching for my water on several occasions, although this could, of course, be a simple matter of taste.

And if the health-police really are forcing NHS cooks into sacrificing flavour for healthiness, then I can honestly say it doesn’t show at Grantham Hospital.

Following the curry I was given a chocolate sponge pudding with chocolate sauce. This is where I feel patients are being spoilt. It was delicious.

Served warm, the dessert was moist and rich, but wasn’t too sickly, meaning I just about licked the bowl clean.

So if you do find yourself spending time at Grantham Hospital, the food will be one thing you don’t need to worry about.

Review by Richard Hatch