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Top chef Oliver to grill Health Minister over hospital food


Oliver Dunne

Oliver Dunne

Oliver Dunne

Top chef Oliver Dunne has secured a meeting with Health Minister Leo Varadkar before Christmas as part of his campaign for better hospital food.

The meeting will take place on December 19, and the Michelin-star chef will be bringing his ideas on what needs to be done to the meeting.

Oliver (37) wants to see a big improvement in the food being served up daily to patients.

"It's my intention at this meeting to ask the minister to support this campaign and assist me in securing access to a Dublin hospital where I can work with the team and get a first-hand understanding of life in a hospital kitchen," said Oliver, who runs the Bon Appetit restaurant in Malahide and Cleaver East in the Temple Bar area.

"This is real for me. I would love to make a difference. I would love to make a change on it. I think it would be great.

"I love the idea of making a real difference and making a positive impact that would last for a long time."

He has been contacted by many people who support his campaign.

"One person tweeted me that they were in a cardiology unit and they were fed fry-ups multiple times a week. I just thought, isn't that the most ironic thing in the world?" Oliver told the Herald.


He said he has been assured the issue is something Mr Varadkar takes very seriously and is something he was looking at anyway.

"For me, I am going into this meeting with a suggestion - this is what I would like to do. I do want access into a hospital, if he can assist me in doing that, it would be fantastic," he said.

Oliver believes better food could be served up with the money that is already being spent.

"From the information I have been given, the cheapest dish served in hospitals is €2.11 and the most expensive was €3.60 per person for a meal.

"So, with an average figure of €3, by God, I could create a hundred dishes - in fact for under €3."

Meanwhile, Oliver revealed that he is looking at all aspects of creating hospital menus.

He said he is focusing on how practical dishes are to prepare for large volumes of people and the cost implications.

"There's no point in me coming up with these dishes which are really difficult to create," he said.

"There's no point in me coming up with dishes that are just far too expensive."

Oliver wants menu choices to be well thought out and signed off by a senior nutritionist.