Hospital food, just not as you know it

Hospital food often get a hard time so we thought we’d carry out a quick Q&A with our head chef, Craig Whitelaw to find out what it is like to work at Spire Murrayfield Hospital.

Where did you work before Spire?
I worked with ACCOR at the Novotel Edinburgh Park as sous chef, then Novotel Edinburgh Centre as head chef, for two years and four years respectively.

What’s your favourite dish?
I am quite a simple eater. Monkfish is probably my favourite food.

Is it different to cook for patients than to cook in a restaurant?
Not really, the cooking techniques are the same but there are some constraints that make it a little tougher. Patients often feel under the weather following procedures so may have a smaller appetite or have very specific requests for their meals.

What is the most important thing when cooking for patients?
Don’t over complicate the food. Keep it simple, cook it correctly and balance the flavours.

What do you find most challenging about working in a hospital?
Delivering the best quality food, but still working within a budget. However, being in Scotland helps as we have a fantastic larder. This enables us to have top quality ingredients that are tastier and more cost effective when in season.

What’s the most rewarding part of working here?
The interaction with patients and work colleagues, knowing that we can make the overall experience a little better. Most people expect ‘hospital food’ so patients are often very appreciative.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked to cook?
Prairie oysters.

A couple of the delicious dishes served everyday at the hospital are below. Top, chicken wrapped in bacon with seasonal vegetable. Bottom, Mango salad with a citrus sorbet.

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