Chef brings fine dining to private hospitals

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Patients at many Australian private hospitals will soon be able to enjoy luxury cuisine thanks to an initiative from one of the country’s leading healthcare providers. 

Healthscope is introducing a ‘five-star resort’ menu at its 43 sites nationwide, created by the catering team at Gold Coast Private Hospital. 

“Good food not only assists in the recovery process, it also lifts people's spirits and helps their mental and emotional wellbeing,” said the hospital’s executive chef John O'Shea, a 20-year veteran of the luxury hotel industry.

“Hospital food can have a bad reputation but we've worked really hard at Gold Coast Private to change the negative perception and to get people excited about what they're being served,” he added.

Mr O’Shea transformed the hospital’s ingredients list – replacing bulk-bought frozen sauces and pre-packaged food with fresh produce – to not only provide better food for patients but also give his kitchen team a more fulfilling working experience.

The menu he designed for Healthscope, created in collaboration with dietitians, includes dishes he introduced at Gold Coast Private – such as pumpkin and kaffir lime risotto with baby spinach – and new offerings including lemon pepper fish with grilled asparagus, confit tomato and hollandaise sauce. 

"While we focus on traditional, home-style meals, we’re proud to be pioneering a change in ‘hospital food’ by offering a selection of gourmet dishes and powerful ‘superfoods’ that are typically found on menus in cafes and restaurants,” Mr O’Shea said. 

"In the mornings we focus on foods that boost the metabolism and include low-GI grains for lasting energy; lunch offers meals that are energising and easily digestible; while for dinner, patients can expect warm, nourishing dishes that are comforting and satisfying," he added. 

This 'maternity celebration dinner' is part of Healthscope's new luxury menu.

Healthscope’s national support services manager Leanne Taylor is part of the ‘standard approach’ team training the company’s nationwide staff to deliver the new menu, which also includes dishes such as smoked salmon sushi Buddha bowl, and prawn dumplings with cauliflower puree and edamame beans. 

"The patient menus at Gold Coast Private set a new standard that will now be synonymous with Healthscope nationally – raising the benchmark for food quality across the entire healthcare sector," she said. 

Gold Coast Private’s general manager David Harper said the hospital was “proud to be leading the way” in improving this area of patient experience.

"Good, healthy food should come as standard in hospitals, but unfortunately that isn't always the case," he said. 

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