Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) new Medical City Hospitals house the biggest healthcare kitchen in the region with the capacity to provide patients with up to 4000 healthy and nutritious meals every day.
These meals cater for more than 65 different diets, accommodating patients with a range of allergies and other health concerns.
Ms. Reem Al Saadi, Director of Dietetics and Nutrition said: “A kitchen this size is a very complex operation and we cater to more than 65 different diets at any given time. This includes patients with swallowing issues and those with specific macro or micronutrient requirements. We know that nutritious meals play a role in the healing and recovery process and while patients are in hospital, diet is a priority and can govern how quickly a patient recovers. Every meal has to go through a strict process and is planned with dietitians according to the individual needs of the patient.”
Menus are balanced to ensure that there is variety and that a day’s complete menu over breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks delivers the nutrition and calories needed to meet the health requirements of patients. Much planning goes into each dish, which is tested several times and assessed by dietitians before being added to the menu. The most popular dish among patients is chicken biriyani with raita salad.
Meals in the kitchen of the new Medical City Hospitals are planned and prepared by an extensive team of more than 300 staff, including dietitians, chefs, and stewards, each of whom is involved in different stages of the food preparation process. This process includes everything from the ordering and delivery of the raw ingredients to the preparation and serving of the meals, and finally the meticulous clearing and cleaning process.
The kitchen is in fact so large and complex that more than 150 staff are employed just to clean and ensure hygiene standards are met. The dedicated loading dock and temperature-controlled storage facilities see dozens of deliveries of fresh food and produce each day.
Commenting on the design and scale of the kitchen, Ms. Al Saadi added: “The kitchen was designed with maximum efficiency and to best meet the nutritional needs of our patients. It has separate streams (sections) for chicken, fish, bakery, and dairy items, as well as for processing, receiving, thawing, and sending out meals. It is also equipped with 27 cold and freezer rooms to store food and is fitted with the most technically-advanced food-processing equipment, including machines that can peel and chop vegetables as well as cook bulk quantities of various foods.
In terms of numbers, the kitchen’s enormous capacity means that it currently serves up more than 1000kg of rice each month, enables the cleaning, washing and disinfecting of thousands of plates and pieces of cutlery, and has a master corridor that links the kitchen to the hospital facilities which is 800 meters long (two laps of an Olympic track).