We’ve been getting to know the Atlas family, who are spread across the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre region.
After talking to Medical Engineer, Phil Scarf, we recently caught up with Lesley Fegan, our Catering Manager, based at Clifton Hospital.
With a passion for all things culinary, Lesley has always had her fingers in the catering pie.
Starting her career working as a dinner lady in both primary and secondary schools, she then spent time working as a supervisor for Burton’s biscuits in Blackpool, as well as owning her own sandwich and cake business, before joining the NHS in 2001 – on a three-month contract.
Lesley takes up the story: “I have had various roles within NHS, including Assistant Site Services Manager, looking after catering, domestic and portering staff over 15 sites.16 years on I’m still here!
My team of 11 and I serve over 250 meals a day to the patents and staff at Clifton Hospital. It’s a military operation, but that’s part of the fun!”
Lesley adds: “We are what you call a cook/freeze kitchen. We take frozen pre-prepared meals, reheat them and then ensure they are presented beautifully for the patients, as all foodies know; the first bite is with the eye.”
The importance of this goes beyond aesthetics, as research from the Patients’ Association shows that the top aspects of importance for patients regarding hospital food included: ‘looks appealing’; ‘tastes good’; right amount of choice’ and ‘food at the right temperature’.All of which are firmly under Lesley’s control.
Lesley continues: “We also make cakes and biscuits from scratch, which the patients love and keeps me cooking and baking, which is in my blood.”
What Lesley doesn’t know about catering just isn’t worth knowing. This is something that features in both her professional life personal life.
In her time outside of Atlas, Lesley is Akela for her local Cubs group. A role she has undertaken for over 25 years, passing on her wisdom to the young children in her care.
Lesley explains: “Being part of the Cubs has encouraged me to try things I’d have thought of doing, like abseiling, rock climbing and axe-throwing – which does worry my colleagues!”
Of course, wherever there’s a chance to cook, Lesley is there and has recently been asked to speak to District Scout Leaders on food safety later this year.
The next time you are at Clifton Hospital and you bite in to a freshly made biscuit, or hot meal, remember the pride, care and skill that Lesley and her team have put in to it.
We’ll be meeting more members of the Atlas family over the coming months.
Find out more about the services we offer, by visiting our Facilities Management section, here