Cooking up a lot of festive cheer

Staff in the kitchens at Blackpool Victoria Hospital are gearing up to provide hundreds of Christmas meals for patients and staff.'Chef Robbie Seaman (left) and Kitchen Manager Darren Cadwell with trays of Christmas pudding and turkey.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'12-12-2012
Staff in the kitchens at Blackpool Victoria Hospital are gearing up to provide hundreds of Christmas meals for patients and staff.'Chef Robbie Seaman (left) and Kitchen Manager Darren Cadwell with trays of Christmas pudding and turkey. PIC BY ROB LOCK'12-12-2012
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ANYONE who has ever cooked a Christmas dinner will know making sure everything is ready at the same time can get pretty stressful.

So imagine if you were cooking a festive meal with all the trimmings – using 352lbs of turkey, 132lbs of veg, 2,000 roast potatoes and 21 gallons of gravy.

That’s exactly the feat taken on by the kitchen staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital tomorrow.

Not only do they cook a full Christmas dinner for hospital workers and 650 patients on Christmas Day, they always cook the same meal a couple of weeks before the big day for 700 staff to mark the festive season.

Darren Cadwell, kitchen manager, said: “The initial preparation for Christmas dinner starts in early November.

“We get a real sense of satisfaction from cooking the Christmas dinner, the whole team really pulls together to make the meal special.”

The team appreciates the fact patients would rather not be in hospital over Christmas, so they make every effort to help them enjoy their meal as much as they can.

Kitchen staff start at 5am with the preparation – heating the ovens and getting everything ready for the mammoth task.

Some preparation is also done the day before to give the team a headstart.

Darren said: “It’s the biggest day on the kitchen calendar.

“If patients are stuck in hospital over the festive holiday, away from family, this gives them something to look forward to and just helps spread some Christmas cheer.”