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Varadkar to meet with Michelin-starred chef who wants to improve hospital food

However, the meeting has been dismissed as a “publicity stunt”.

Updated at 9.21pm

MINISTER FOR HEALTH Leo Varadkar has agreed to meet with a Michelin-starred chef to discuss how to improve the quality of hospital food.

It follows renewed criticism of the food served to patients in Ireland’s hospitals.

Oliver Dunne, owner of Bon Appetit and Cleaver East, has been campaigning on the issue since he witnessed what he calls the ‘lacklustre’ food served to his wife in hospital, and believes it can be improved at low cost.

Yesterday, as part of paper’s#MakeItBetter campaign, the Sunday Times reported that Dunne will meet with Varadkar on the issue.

A spokesperson for the Minister said today he will meet with him “ideally in a canteen setting”.

The meeting will look at how Dunne can get involved with a Departmental review of food quality issues. As part of this, the Minister met with dozens of chefs in September.

“The quality of hospital food varies considerably and [the Minister] thinks it should be possible to improve the overall quality and also provide healthier options,” a spokesperson said.

However, the meetings between chefs and the Minister have been criticised by the opposition as ‘publicity stunts’.

Fianna Fáil TD Colm Keaveney told this website:

This is just distracting the public, and it isn’t going to change the fact catering budgets have been reduced.

Keaveney also accused the Minister of making headlines with comments on the water charges debate, “and every other debate in society… while kids are still being fed crap in hospitals”.

He said that if patients are fed healthy food, it will aid their recovery, and in return help free up hospital beds.

coombe-6-2

Last year, the Coombe Maternity hospital carried out a review of its menus after a photo of a meal served to a woman in the hospital was brought to its attention by TheJournal.ie.

The above image, sent by a reader through Twitter, showed a plate of overcooked wedges and a sausage roll, that had been served in one of the maternity wards.

The hospital is now offering healthier options to patients.

Read: UK hospitals to be fined for serving up unhealthy food >

More: White bread, butter and chips? Hospital food is not good enough, says TD >

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Nicky Ryan

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