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Chef creates healing environment through food

For 12 years Francis Dela Cruz, Chef Manager, has been providing excellent food for our patients at West Berkshire Community Hospital. He has catered for everyone from our patients, MP’s and Olympians to Royals.

Previously he worked in the Philippines at a restaurant that had a strong focus on health and nutrition. Francis explained the reason for his interest in working with us being, ‘there is a culture of healthy eating and looking after your own family in the Philippines. This is why I feel at home in a hospital environment. Promoting the advantages of healthy eating and providing great quality food in order to help patients is very important to me.’

Francis has also catered at major events in the UK, including Henley Regatta. ‘These events are a very different experience as it’s about the presentation and I often have to provide four course meals’.

Patients at the hospital have the benefit of a therapy garden which was created to help their wellbeing. Francis and his team soon realised that they could grow food for the kitchen whilst getting patients involved in gardening and nurturing the plants. Each year Francis and the team plan what they can grow and use in the kitchen. This saves money for the kitchen, encourages the patients to be more active by helping in the garden, and has great health benefits as all the produce is organic. 

Francis said ‘the patients’ favourite dish is crumble, and this year’s harvest brought a surplus of plums, so there was a lot of plum crumble on the menu and this went down well.’