West Suffolk Hospital serves fresh, quality food, fast – with SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses

Rational combi steamer is a hit with staff and customers

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds prides itself on the quality of its food – nearly all of which is freshly cooked in house.

With three meals a day for the 450 patients, plus feeding the hospital’s staff and visitors, work is demanding for the 14 chefs and 57 catering staff.

The main kitchen has Rational combi steamers, which cook most of the food. In the busy Time Out restaurant, used by staff and visitors, there are some additional cooking facilities.

Recently the hospital decided it needed to expand the menu and speed up the customer experience in the restaurant, but budget was an issue. At which point West Suffolk won a six-grid Rational SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses which, said catering manager Brodrick Pooley, was the perfect solution.

“It came totally out of the blue,” he added.

We’d entered the competition for a Rational combi steamer, but hadn’t dreamed we’d actually win

“We’d entered the competition for a Rational combi steamer, but hadn’t dreamed we’d actually win. We can cook loads of different foods in it and it’s very fast. For example, a batch of sausages takes about eight minutes, compared to 15 or 20 in conventional ovens.”

Time Out is open 8am until 8pm and serves around 300 meals a day. The menu is the same as is served to patients, plus a choice of specials of the day and snack meals. A lot of the food used to be cooked in the main kitchen, which sometimes caused delays. Now, more and more can be put through the new Rational in the restaurant.

“The freshness and quality of our food is what makes our catering so popular,” said Pooley.

When the new combi steamer first arrived a Rational expert came to help the team programme it with their own recipes.

“All the restaurant catering staff were involved in the programming process, to make sure they were happy with the cooking results,” said Pooley.

“It helped get them used to the equipment and they really enjoy using it now. They don’t have to keep checking the food, the Rational tells them when it’s ready. And they love the fact it produces really good -uality meals for their customers at the touch of a button.

A lot of the food used to be cooked in the main kitchen, which sometimes caused delays. Now, more and more can be put through the new Rational in the restaurant

“We cook all sorts of dishes in it. Lasagnes, pies, jackets, braised casseroles, pizza, scones, breakfast pastries, and croissants. During the football World Cup we had a special from each of the participating countries. Everything comes out perfectly, and it’s very easy for staff, thanks to the Rational’s automatic iCookingControl.”

He also praised the advanced features of this latest SelfCookingCenter.

“The HiDensityControl means that everything is cooked exactly the same, no matter where you put the tray in the cabinet, so the consistency is outstanding,” he said.

“Also, with iLevelControl we can easily cook all sorts of different foods at once. It tells us when each rack is ready and there’s no flavour transfer. We are looking at doing full breakfasts in it.”

The new Rational combi steamer at West Suffolk Hospital was installed by Combi-Fix Solutions of Bourne, Lincolnshire.

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