How hospital meals at SGH are prepared

Cooking several meals a day for 1,300 patients with different dietary needs is no easy task. That is the job of the Singapore General Hospital Food Services Department.

Straits Times photojournalist Neo Xiaobin takes a look behind the scenes for a glimpse of how hospital meals are prepared.

THE Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Food Services Department is located in Block 8. The kitchen, with its beige walls and red tiled floors, uses 150kg of rice each day and 160kg of vegetables per meal.

One of its main challenges is to plan meals for patients with different dietary needs. There are 27 types of therapeutic diets, which include low-fat, low-cholesterol, diabetic, low-salt, low-copper, low-lactose and gluten-free meals.

Kitchen staff also need to ensure that patients do not choke on the food, so watermelon seeds are removed and fishballs are cut into smaller pieces, for instance. Fish is served as fillets because of the danger of bones.

In the recipe room, dietary attendants carefully weigh and measure ingredients such as spices, flavourings and seasonings for every dish, every meal.

It is also a challenge to prepare food to suit patients' taste buds and preferences as certain medical conditions may affect their appetite, and long-term medications or treatments may change their sense of taste.

From cooks who are responsible for the preparation, cooking and plating of meals, to dietary attendants who assist with the cutting of vegetables, fruit and garnishes, 120 employees work to ensure that patients get nutritious food that is as appetising as possible.

This article was first published on MONTH DAY, 2015.
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