When chef Peter Mears started working at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn nearly 40 years ago, the amount of food needed to satisfy the demand of hungry patients and staff was a lot less than the present day.
For 36 years, the North Wootton man has worked in the catering department at the Gayton Road site, starting as a chef before working in the food stores for the last 12 years.
In his current role, he is responsible for ordering food from suppliers and ensuring its timely delivery to our kitchen teams to prepare the breakfast, lunch and evening meals for the thousands of people based at the Trust.
However, Mr Mears said in the 1980s there used to be a lull over the winter period, with the summer months being the busiest period for the catering team, but now demand is the same all year round.
A greater emphasis is now placed on allergens and ensuring that food is suitable for patients’ diets.
Certain foods are particularly popular on the wards and in the hospital’s Hub restaurant: 84 tins of baked beans, weighing 2.5kgs each, are munched each week, along with 25 10kg boxes of chips, 20kgs of Corn Flakes and 10kgs of Rice Krispies.
A staggering 2,500 small tubs of ice cream are devoured each week, while the caterers need to source 120kgs of flour over the same period to service demand.
The 59-year-old said: “It has been a good Trust to work for and they have looked after me over the years. We have some good times and some bad. Like every department, we go through situations that we have to get over and work as a team.
“I think it is the team here that has been the main memory of my time at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The camaraderie is great and we have a real team spirit about us.”
The hospital will be 40-years-old on 22nd July and is named after the late Queen Mother. It serves a population of around 331,000 people living in west Norfolk, south Lincolnshire and north east Cambridgeshire.
There are 500 beds across 28 wards and in 2018/19 there were 2,818 staff working at the Gayton Road site
Keep watching the @TeamQEH Twitter feed (#QEH40) and Facebook pages for details of forthcoming events to coincide with the 40th anniversary celebrations.