Leading Australian chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan has cooked in some interesting places over the course of his decades-long career, but it wasn’t until recently that he could add ‘hospitals’ to that list. While it has been a learning curve, Luke says that it really isn’t any different to the way in which he has always approached cooking – pick fresh produce, cook it simply and serve it well. Sally McCray, Director of Dietetics and Foodservices at Mater Group in Brisbane has had plenty of experience working in kitchens and in hospitals, and saw an opportunity for the two professions to come together and deliver an Australian-first room service restaurant-style menu in a hospital. In this podcast, DC’s Maree Ferguson chats to Luke and Sally about the drivers and barriers associated with such an ambitious goal, how they have developed delicious menus that meet dietary requirements and why they are planning a kitchen garden on the hospital roof!  


Luke Mangan is a leading Australian restaurateur and chef. His influence on the food and wine industry can be found on the carriages of the Eastern Oriental Express, at sea, on P&O Cruise ships, on TV as a Coles Supermarkets ambassador and most recently partnered with Mater Health Group in Brisbane working with their dietitians and chefs to bring healthy, high quality restaurant food to patients. He has written five best-selling cookbooks and an autobiography ‘The Making of a Chef’, has his line of gourmet products and makes regular TV, radio and print media appearances. In the 2019 Australia Day Honours, Luke was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to the hospitality industry, tourism and his contributions to charities.


Sally McCray is the Director of Dietetics and Foodservices at Mater Group and holds Honorary Associate Professor and adjunct Assistant Professor positions at Mater Research Institute – University of Queensland and Bond University, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine. She has worked clinically across public and private hospital sectors in Australia and Canada and currently leads the dietitian and foodservices teams at Mater to develop and implement innovative foodservice models to drive improved patient and hospital outcomes. She has published this research in peer reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences, winning numerous awards for this work. She is passionate about advocating for food as an integral part of patients’ clinical treatment as well as its role in enhancing their hospital experience.


In this episode, we discuss:

  • How Luke’s experiences cooking in top restaurants, cruise ships, trains and planes have translated to the hospital kitchen;
  • Why prawns, quail and balsamic poached berries feature on the new menu;
  • How turning hospital food into restaurant food improves patient outcomes and saves money;
  • How >85 therapeutic diets are catered for in the hospital;
  • The advice Sally would give to other dietitians looking to make a difference in their menu offering; and, 
  • What the future of food service in hospitals looks like


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