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Geoff Schultz is a passionate foodie and former personal chef, who uses his decades of culinary experience to help give hospital patients a taste of normality.
Having worked at Darling Downs Health for nearly 30 years, Geoff is now the Catering Manager at Toowoomba Hospital.
The commercial-sized kitchen runs like clockwork with around 80 staff dishing up more than 700,000 meals a year.
That includes 17,000 kgs of meat, 25,000 kgs of fresh vegetables and 21,000 loaves of bread.
Geoff’s passion stems from a desire to make a difference.
“Generally, no one wants to be in hospital unless you’re giving birth so it’s about trying to give something nice to our patients.
“I won’t give something to someone that I wouldn’t be happy to eat myself,” he said.
While there’s nothing on the menu that Geoff hasn’t tasted, there will be a festive feel to the food on 25 December.
The special menu includes baked glazed ham, roast meals, turkey breast, homemade salad, plum pudding, pavlova and fruit cake.
“We try and go that extra mile to make it just a little bit more special for our patients who probably don’t want to be spending Christmas here.”
Geoff also credited his highly skilled team, some of whom start work at 5:30 in the morning to get breakfast underway.
“We have team of qualified chefs, staff undertaking sandwich and salad making, cleaning and dishwasher shifts, along with our staff who deliver meals to our patients. We work closely with Dieticians, Nutrition assistants and Speech Therapists to ensure we provide the best to our patients.
“It’s a huge team effort and I know we all feel a real sense of achievement when we hear some of the positive feedback from patients who have enjoyed their meal.”
And even after spending the majority of his days in the kitchen, Geoff still enjoys cooking at home.
“My wife and I share the cooking, but I’m passionate because it’s been my life forever and a day.”