Every meal is planned in close consultation with dietitians at Epworth, taking into account dietary restrictions and food allergies to ensure patient safety.”

The food services team at Epworth Geelong is thrilled to introduce a new food menu for patients.

With new meals including a Thai beef salad, chicken pot pie, lamb korma curry, a signature Epworth burger, mushroom and truffle-infused risotto and an ancient grain salad with pomegranate molasses, we have replaced 12 menu items. Planning is underway to expand the culinary experience for vegetarians, vegans and special dietary needs such as gluten intolerance.

Mark Parsons, Head Chef at Epworth Geelong has worked in the hospital kitchen for seven years and said changing the menu is more involved than changing a restaurant menu.

“I have worked as a chef for 30 years throughout England, Europe, South Africa and Australia and creating a menu for a hospital is very unique,” Mr Parsons said.

“Every meal is planned in close consultation with dietitians at Epworth, taking into account dietary restrictions and food allergies to ensure patient safety.”

Patients order their meals from in-room screens, which have their individual food restrictions pre-loaded, so only safe menu choices are available to order.

In the Epworth Geelong kitchen, there are 64 chefs, food service assistants and room hosts, serving up to 900 meals and snacks, every day. A third of the kitchen staff have worked at Epworth Geelong since the hospital opened in 2016.

A team of nine chefs shaped new menu selections. They were aided by patients and carers who gave valuable feedback on their dining experience using the in-room touch screens, throughout the year.

Mr Parsons says every dish is tested under strict hospital conditions.

“You eat with your eyes. We might come up with a meal that looks fantastic when it is dished up in the kitchen, but if it doesn’t look the same when it arrives to the patient it won’t make our menu.”

Photo: L-R: Jay Flannagan, Lovepreet Lovepreet, Head Chef Mark Parsons, Adam Harmer and Chris Reynolds.