Rational Hospital Catering Sector Seminar: A Huge Success

On the 28th April, The Chefs’ Forum partnered with RATIONAL to deliver a Virtual Hospital Sector Catering seminar, covering the key points raised in the recently published ‘Independent Review of NHS Hospital Food’, chaired by Philip Shelley. The review highlights the essential developments required to ensure a sustainable food provision and service of the highest possible quality over the forthcoming years.

A professional panel of industry experts and stakeholders came together to form a panel of experts discussing headline topics with the aim of providing the vision, the insight and expertise required to meet the objectives of the review.

Over 130 NHS catering managers, chefs, dieticians, clinicians and facilities managers signed up to and attended the virtual event and the feedback was that was expertly planned and executed, paving the way to bring about radical change in hospital menus to improve the patient food offer and enable hospitals to create delicious, locally-sourced menus for patients, visitor and staff 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

Adam Knights, Marketing Director, Rational UK comments,

“We were not only very pleased with the way in which the hospital seminar was delivered by the experts, but also the extremely positive way it was received by the audience. We have successfully worked in partnership with The Chefs’ Forum to provide a platform for individuals from the hospital sector, including buyers, chefs, kitchen designers, equipment manufacturers, chief executives and catering managers who together can make a change for better hospital catering standards.  We plan to build on this and deliver a series of Hospital webinars and future events to galvanise and support all involved in changing hospital menus for the better”.

A special message by Prue Leith CBE (Industry icon, restaurateur, chef, TV presenter and food writer) making the introductory speech opened the event, then seminar panellists discussed a range of topics covered in the Food Review of areas in the current offer needing special attention, support and improvement.

Dr Rupy Aujla (GP, Founder of Culinary Medicine UK and author of The Doctor’s Kitchen) was very much of the opinion that ‘Food is Medicine’ and the need to engage staff members, especially nurses as they are the ones linking face-to-face with patients.

Mike Ridder (Kitchen Consultant at Dragon Catering Consultancy, Denbigh) has worked in the hospital sector for many years prior to opening his consultancy.

He said

“We need to look at how our hospital kitchens are designed and the sort of equipment that hospital chefs are expected to cook on.  If they call people in like myself in the early stages, they can save a lot of money in terms of wasted energy, reducing carbon footprint and reducing waste – We really need to look after the bottom line, reducing carbon footprint for future generations and waste reduction is of paramount importance.”

This message was reinforced by Colin Parry, Sales Director at Rational UK who said that service and back-up of equipment and integrating the latest energy-saving equipment is crucial to bolstering hospital caterers in hospital kitchens and that Rational UK can absolutely provide them with this level of support.

Nicola Strawther, Chief Dietetic, Nottingham University Hospital echoed Dr Rupy’s comments on ensuring that hospitals can offer fresh and quality food as when people are unwell, as their need for healthy and nutritious food is greater than ever.

Philip Shelley (Chair of the NHS Hospital Food Review) and Craig Smith (Outgoing Chair of the Hospital Caterers Association) both stressed the importance of liaising with the trust as they hold the budget and the need for ensuring that there is enough money in the pot to fulfil all of the objectives identified in the review.

The Seminar was hosted and chaired by Neil Rippington (Director of Education at The Chefs’ Forum and Instructor in Culinary Psychology, Harvard University) who led the debate topics such as the future design of hospital kitchens and how design can contribute to areas such as food quality, sustainability, efficiency and food safety.

Colin Parry, Sales Director at Rational UK concluded,

“We are delighted to have gathered together some of the leading professionals in hospital sector catering for a meeting of minds on how best to action the objectives identified in the recent NHS hospital Food Review.  We very much enjoyed hearing from the various specialists on how the topics discussed related to their various roles and how we can work as a collective to support hospital food and catering operations.”

Discussion topics included: Food as medicine; Tomorrow’s kitchen; Integrating technology; Sustainability; Food & drink standards; Healthy & nutritious menus; Working in partnership and Planning the future.

The Seminar also acknowledged the fantastic contributions of our NHS Food Heroes to date and how the review proposes to ensure the evolution of future Food Heroes by providing the training, development and qualifications to support hospital caterers and their career development in the future.

The event concluded with a clear plan outlined and how these objectives could continue to be measured and reviewed; It is imperative that all stakeholders must work together in partnership to provide the quality of provision that all within the NHS deserve. Rational and The Chefs’ Forum will continue to report on changes made as a result of the seminar and plan to stage future events for the sector.

Any Hospital Sector Caters wishing to know more about the latest Rational technology can register for a Hospitals Live online webinar here.