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The working life of a hospice catering team

Author: Sarah Lightly
11 August 2017

Sarah Lightly, catering manager at children's hospice Shooting Star Chase with sites in Surrey, Guildford and Middlesex, explains how the catering team of five full-time staff and 14 volunteers feed up to 40 people a day at each hospice.

At meal times, the dining rooms at our hospices are a hive of activity with families, staff and volunteers all sitting down to enjoy a meal together. Making sure everyone is well fed and full of cake is the responsibility of our catering team.  

Typically a hospice cook would start their day at 8 am. They will make sure the kitchen is clean after the previous night’s supper, put things out for breakfast, look at the menu for the day and prepare the salad bar.

The cook cleans up after breakfast and starts prepping for lunch at 10 am. They will consider special diets which need to be catered for including purees for children who cannot eat solids.

Main meals are scheduled by the catering manager but each cook will decide on and make soups, salads and desserts each day. They will also make a cake – we make sure there is always something sweet and irresistible available for families staying and visiting our hospices as a bit of a treat. The cooks are on hand to prepare buffet lunches for meetings or events happening at the hospice or packed lunches for children going on trips out.

It is nice for the families to not have to think about food, and staff appreciate it too. Staff pay for their meals but it is very cheap – they can get a two-course meal for less than a sandwich in the supermarket.

In the afternoon the process starts all over again – restocking the salad bar, taking orders for supper and preparing it. The cook’s day finishes at 6 pm after supper is served.

Our cooks will also often get involved with baking or cooking activities with the children during the day. It is lovely to see families enjoying the food we make and helping the children have fun doing cooking activities. It all plays a small part in helping them relax and enjoy their stay.

For more information visit Shooting Star Chase Hospice

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