It’s possibly the busiest kitchen on the Fylde Coast, and it’s just won a five star food hygiene rating for the fourth year running.
But for kitchen manager Darren Cadwell nothing else was acceptable for the team at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
And it’s the best ever result they’ve had from Environmental Health, which has praised more aspects of the kitchen than it has in previous years.
Darren, 48, said: “To have the five star rating again is absolutely fantastic, but for me anything less is not a second thought.
“As a hospital we have to have five stars, and it really does make all the hard work that goes into making 3,000 meals a day worth it.
“I wouldn’t have been awarded the five stars without my team – the working relationship I have with my staff is absolutely second to none.”
The visit by Environmental Health from Blackpool Council is completely unannounced and checks the kitchen, food preparation and cooking, the food hygiene systems, temperature records and also talks to staff.
For staff in the Vic’s kitchen, the working day starts at 5.30am when chefs start preparing the day’s meals, which are made fresh on site.
There are staff working in the pastry room, making a host of delicious desserts, the salad preparation room, the sandwich preparation room and a room specifically for preparing meals catered to dietary needs, whether it’s gluten free, Halal or food administered directly into the stomach.
The Vic also boasts a raw meat room, two walk-in fridges and several store rooms.
Darren has been kitchen manager for six years, but has been working in the Vic’s kitchen since he left school.
He said: “At the moment we have 700 patients in who require breakfast, dinner and tea, as well as all the staff who we cater and visitors to the hospital.
“I believe the kitchen is the engine of the hospital.
“When you’re in hospital there isn’t much to look forward to apart from your meals.
“Hygiene is vitally important to us and we carry out daily, weekly and monthly inspections to ensure our kitchen is top class, and all our staff are given hygiene training.
“I am very proud of the achievements we have received.
“This is a first class kitchen with first class staff.”
Senior site services manager, Yvonne Widdows, said: “This award is a real achievement when you think about the amount of food we produce here every day, but it’s important to us that we stay on top of our food safety requirements all the time.
“Patients can continue to have confidence in the standards of catering services they are receiving and that we produce food in a safe manner.
“We know how important meals are to our patients and it can often be the highlight of their day.
“I’d like to say thank you to the team for all their hard work; it really is a team effort to achieve these results.”