Home > Other Health Careers > Hospital Food Catering

Hospital Food Catering

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 2 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Career Hospital Food Catering Dietitian

While the field of food catering is a massive one that encompasses a number of different areas, hospital food catering is a special area that requires a range of unique skills and attributes for success.

Working in Hospital Food Catering

Hospital food caterers have a challenging task compared to other food caterers in non-medical sectors. A hospital food caterer must create menus that not only satisfy the palates of patients but also cater to their individual health needs.

Challenges of Hospital Food Catering

If you consider that many patients will have poor appetites or severe nausea from medications and their illnesses, you can see how specialising in hospital food catering is a challenging task. Not only that, but you must keep abreast of the latest changes in food tastes.

In fact, research can be a key part of the role for a hospital food caterer. You will want to survey patients to find out what they think of the taste and quality of the foods you prepare. Also, you will need to monitor the trends and tastes of patients, particularly with relevance to their age.

Many people associate fish and chips with British people but actually, curry now rates higher for a food preference. These sorts of trends are important to know when creating meals. For instance, elderly patients may have more traditional tastes for sausages and potatoes while younger patients tend to be open to a wider range of foods.

Areas of Work

Hospital food caterers can still enjoy many different career roles within this specialty. While most people will begin at the lower end of the scale working in the kitchens and creating menus planned by a more senior team, there is enormous scope for gaining more responsibility and increasing your salary. At the top end are registered dietitians who review the menus and ensure that they meet the needs of patients.

You might work in supervisory roles within the kitchen or you may be responsible for food ordering and organising the kitchen. Still others will work in a finance role for hospital food catering, where they focus on the creation of meals within a specific budget.

Training for a Hospital Caterer Career

Depending on where you work – in the kitchen as a chef or in a menu planning role – your education can range from cooking school to an undergraduate degree in dietetics or even graduate education in economics or health planning. Generally, the more education you obtain, the more responsibility you can have in your career and the higher the pay for your job. At the very basis of success in this career is a love for food combined with a passion for helping people to attain health through daily eating.

You can work directly for the NHS or you might work for a private company that is contracted to provide services in a local hospital. There are many options and environments – not everyone need work directly in the kitchen.

Another area of importance is food safety and hygiene. Menu planning, budgeting and cooking the meals are only one part of this career. Also important is ensuring that the foods reach patients in a timely manner and do so safely and in good quality.

Making a Difference

The unfortunate reputation of hospitals is still often one of 'bland and boring' foods that leave patients cringing and avoiding eating. However, hospital food today has actually come a long way from these older days of institutionalised foods. Still, it has a long way to go in terms of appeasing the majority of hospital patients. Your contribution to the field as a hospital food caterer could make a major difference.

A person's diet and nutritional status are well known to play a vital role in both maintaining and improving their health. As a hospital food caterer, you will have the opportunity to help many people regain their health and restore their enjoyment in eating.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Hawa
    Re: A Career as a Surgical Technologist
    I am student , lives in birmingham ,recently graduated from the high school . surgical techs is my most interesting…
    5 March 2021
  • hayden
    Re: Working in Health Economics
    I am doing my undergrad in healthcare administration. I'm in a healthcare economics class right now but that is basically the full…
    23 February 2021
  • Kel
    Re: How to Become a Physiotherapist
    Hello there I’ve spent 20 years as a massage therapist working with a lot of injuries! My main qualification is nvq 3 .... I…
    20 February 2021
  • Asok
    Re: A Career as a Medical Copywriter
    I am retiring from my career after a long work experience in the fields of General Practice, Pathology and Transfusion…
    15 February 2021
  • Rubdabella
    Re: Working in Health Economics
    Plz I did Agric Economics in my first degree and I graduated with a 2:1,pls can do health economics
    8 February 2021
  • Sara
    Re: How to Become a Physiotherapist
    I have a BSc in sports performance and coaching and a fdsc in personal training and would like to go forward and become a…
    6 February 2021
  • Jen
    Re: Work as a Travel Nurse
    Hello - are there any similar avenues for physiotherapists? Thanks!
    24 January 2021
  • Jacob
    Re: Work in Respiratory Therapy
    Hi to work in the field of respiratory therapy you have to have a physiotherapy degree or be able to convert to a physiotherapy…
    8 January 2021
  • JHN280419
    Re: Working in Health Economics
    I have a BSc in Public Health. Will a diploma in economics suffice to pursue this Masters qualification? Or should I pursue a…
    4 January 2021
  • Mary
    Re: Work in Respiratory Therapy
    I am a Respiratory Therapist in Philippines. How would I be able to apply for a job here in UK? People do not seems know and…
    12 December 2020