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A festive feast over 7 months in the making

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While many of us were enjoying our summer holidays or planning a trip away, in August, catering staff at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds were already gearing up to provide Christmas cheer to patients and staff alike.

Preparations for the festive feast started 7 months ago with mince pies being prepared and frozen ready to use as well as menu planning, dish sampling and pre orders being arranged with suppliers. Now with the big day just around the corner, the award-winning catering staff at the hospital are now fully in the festive mood, after last week serving up a succulent Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings, to over 350 hungry members of staff.

Staff Christmas 1

This incredible feat – which included cooking over 100 kg of British turkey, is merely a warmup for the team who will be doing it all over again on Christmas Day, when they cook for all their patients and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) staff working their festive shift.

Roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, stuffing, carrots and everyone’s favourite, Brussel sprouts, will be on the menu, with the catering team starting up their ovens in the early hours of Christmas Day to ensure everyone gets a delicious, warm meal. Of course, there will be a vegetarian option available too.

Head chef Luke Nobbs said: “The hospital environment can be exceptionally stressful for patients, particularly during the Christmas season. Our goal is to enhance their experience throughout the festive period, and a well-prepared Christmas dinner plays a significant role in achieving that aim.

Luke Nobbs head chef

“While many people will be relaxing with loved ones this Christmas, our dedicated staff will be working to deliver high quality care to those who need it most.

“I take immense pride in our catering service, by offering high-quality, delectable food I believe we contribute to easing any hospital stay, not just during Christmas. This effort extends to supporting our hardworking staff with the sustenance they need during their demanding shifts.”

By the end of their Christmas shift, the catering team will have cooked and prepared a hugely impressive amount of food over the festive period, including:

  • 240 kg of British turkey
  • 110 portions of gluten free and vegan nut roast
  • 350venison pigs in blankets
  • 500 pigs in blankets
  • 120kg of roast potatoes
  • 80kg of carrots
  • 50kg of Brussels sprouts
  • 130 Christmas puddings
  • 330 portions of roulade

Craig Black, executive director of resources, said: “We understand that the festive season can be a challenging time for many, especially those who find themselves away from home and unable to celebrate with loved ones in a more traditional way.

“That’s why this year, as we do during any other, we wanted to create something special for our staff and patients, offering them a festive meal to bring a bit of cheer. The remarkable efforts of our catering team in making this happen deserve a huge thank you, and I express my sincere appreciation to each and every one of them.”

Staff Christmas 3


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