Just as babies don’t come from storks, meals don’t fall from the sky either. Let’s discover these heroes who work hard to feed hundreds of patients!
To do so, we will follow the journey of a meal coupon to find out how the meals are prepared and especially who partakes in the preparation of the food, the trays and their distribution!
Dietary Technicians produce the meal plan
Every morning, the dietary technicians collect the reports from the occupational therapists and nutritionists that are faxed to them. They then enter the data in the menu software. Once everything is compiled, they print out meal plan coupons for each patient and place them on the trays.
Food Service Attendants plate the meals
Once each meal coupon is paired with a tray, they are ready for take-off on the conveyor belts. The journey begins at 6:00 a.m. At that same moment, each Food Service Attendant is at his or her station: meat, vegetables or beverages. They add the items offered at their station to the trays moving on the conveyor belts. They assemble the trays according to the indications on the meal coupon.
The Dietary Technician then checks that all the items comply with the recommendations. Once everything is checked, she gives the green light to the attendants who place the trays in the transport carts and distribute them.
Sabrina, a Food Service Attendant, mentions that cleaning the trays is also one of their daily tasks. Her colleague Regina explains that these tasks are carried out not only by the morning team, but also by a second crew responsible for the evening service, which ends at 8 p.m. The great team spirit in the kitchen is Sabrina’s favourite part.
Patients eat and receive a visit
The meals, along with their coupons, arrive at their destination! At breakfast and lunch time, the Dietary Technicians visit the patients. These professionals then go to each of the units, with the exception of 2-South and Emergency, which receive this service upon request. The visits are documented in the faxed reports received at the beginning of each day. For Marthe, a Dietary Technician, her favourite part of her work is the teamwork and the clinical approach with patients. In short, the human side!
The Chefs are front and centre
Before the trays can be assembled and checked, someone has to prepare the meals! This is where our formidable team of chefs comes into play. Barrington describes his typical work day: “First, we arrive and check what our recipes are going to be for the day. They’re written down on a piece of paper. We check to see what ingredients are on our carrying shelf and our shelves in the kitchen and then we prepare them. Normally there are three recipes per day. Some days are more challenging, not because the recipes themselves are harder, but rather because the sheer quantity to prepare is a challenge. It’s because we’re not just cooking for 20 people, we’re cooking for 200 to 300 people! He specifies that as chefs, their work day also includes cleaning up. What he likes best is that the food is enjoyed by the patients and the hospital staff!
The Managing team
The Food Service Manager, as well as the Administrative Manager and Assistant, play equally important roles in the food service structure. They may not be directly involved with the coupons or food, but they enable all the work done by the Chefs, Food Service Attendants and Dietary Technicians. ‘The small jobs like the big ones contribute to the quality of life that we want to offer our patients,’ says Jacques Dupont, Food Service Manager.
These close-knit and dedicated teams ensure that the food service runs smoothly. In other words, it’s thanks to all these dedicated individuals that patients and hospital employees can enjoy a variety of delicious meals.