How hospital's kosher diet saved 'starving' Catholic

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 21, 2010
Food for thought?

Food for thought?

A catholic patient at a Leeds hospital who lost weight eating the "cold and unappetising" food they gave her, found a cure she didn't expect - when she went kosher.

Glynis Hallas, of Whitkirk in West Leeds, complained about the food and was advised by a dietician at St James's University Hospital to try something new after convincing her it was of a better standard.

Mrs Hallas, who has just completed a long-term stay in the hospital's Lincoln Wing, was one of a number of patients who complained that they were unable to subsist on standard hospital fare.

Some had been surviving on sandwiches brought in by family members or only eating the mashed potatoes.

But Mrs Hallas ordered kosher chicken chasseur with rice and vegetables and then steak pie with roast potatoes and vegetables - and said that the meals looked good, were hot and tasted delicious.

Her mother-in-law, Diane Hallas, said Glynis, who is still receiving treatment, had told her family how much she enjoyed her first kosher meal.

"It was the first hospital food she actually enjoyed. She thought it was only for Jewish people. She didn't realise the non-Jewish patients could eat it and she was very surprised when the dietitian suggested it - pleasantly surprised."

Glynis said: "The kosher menu is marvellous. The meals were hot and tasty and no comparison to the ordinary ones. It came in little compartments.

"The lady in the bed opposite said I had the best meal on the ward because she had had the kosher meal as well as she was also losing weight.

"I did joke that the next time I go into hospital I'll tell them I'm Jewish. Imagine a Catholic eating kosher!"

A spokesman for the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust said the hospital had set up a group of 35 patient representatives to improve its food service and attend tasting sessions.

"The dieticians do work with individual patients. Some patients might need a particular diet that is low or high in a particular ingredient, and this meal obviously fitted the bill for this patient," he added.

The kosher meals are made by Hermolis and supplied to hospital caterers, Tillery Valley. David Colman, operations manager at Hermolis, said the company was very pleased Mrs Hallas had "eaten our meals and that they have made her feel better and put on weight".

He added: "We take pride in the quality, nutritional value and quantity in the kosher food we send out and believe that it is as good, or better, than anything else on the market."

Last updated: 4:12pm, October 21 2010