Scarborough Hospital’s staff canteen had a special visitor this week in the wake of it being placed into the TV spotlight last year.
Maureen Wood travelled all the way from her Wakefield home to meet Pat Bell, the hospital’s catering ofﬁcer, who last year worked with celebrity chef James Martin to make improvements to the food on offer.
The resulting programme was broadcast last September and Mrs Bell said she has been asked by the chef to help with his next show at a hospital in Birmingham.
She said: “He asked myself and Sharon Ellis (the head chef) to help. It’s quite overwhelming in a way. We did argue (with him) quite a bit – we had our opinions.
“When he came back he said ‘I want to ask you something – would you help me?’ We were quite taken aback.”
Mrs Bell added that Mr Martin had created recipes for the patients and ingredients were now sourced locally – whereas before they used items which were frozen or from packets. “We are still using local suppliers,” she added.
She added that she was surprised by the response from members of the public. She said: “We are amazed that, 12 months on, people are still wanting to come in and see us.”
Mrs Wood, a former hospital volunteer, had also written to Mrs Bell and her letter was published in the Scarborough News.
She was invited across to the Yorkshire Coast for lunch and said she was “elated” to be there and finally meet Mrs Bell.
“I couldn’t believe it that Pat was there – I’ve lived and breathed this hospital – it’s just like a dream come true,” she said.
Mrs Wood said that Mr Martin originally wanted to get involved and do something to help – a “food makeover”. “When he got here and she took him to the store cupboard it was packet soups and frozen food,” she said.
She added that she was pleased staff were still able to stick within the budget of £3 per patient and provide 1,000 meals per day while raising standards. “This hospital means just as much to me as my local one does,” she said.
In her letter to the newspaper Mrs Wood said that, during filming, Mr Martin arranged for hospital staff to visit different food establishments in London to back up his suggestions and encourage them to widen their perspective of what could be achieved.