Airline and hospital food have been the culinary world's punchlines for as long as anyone can remember. If you're eating something bland and boring that's clearly been served with an ice cream scooper, then you're eating hospital food. If it's scorching hot chicken and rice that some obnoxiously cheerful flight attendant has been sitting on for the past 5 hours in the air, then it's airplane food. In either scenario, run.
Canada's Ottawa Hospital CEO Dr. Jack Kitts spent an entire week, along with other managerial members of his staff, eating the food at his own hospital. Every day, for all three meals, he and his fellow executives would eat whatever they could find in the cafeteria (excluding simple meals that are hard to fuck up, like coffee and a banana).
The hospital had been hearing complaints from patients for years, so they decided to finally walk a mile in their shoes and see what all the fuss was about. Although they realized how bad the food was by the second day, they stuck it out and did the whole seven days anyways, just to really understand from a different perspective.
"Thank you for raising your concerns with me," Kitts said to a patient complaining about the food. "Our management team has recently eaten hospital food for a week and agrees with your observation that we need to improve the presentation and taste."
While there is no argument that the food was certainly meeting nutritional expectations, the finished product was simply so unappealing and bland that nobody was convinced it could possibly have any health-related value.
The hospital is already looking toward the future by reading into a room service option. This change will hopefully be made to accommodate a lot of people who don't necessarily fall in line when it comes to eating habits, which is normal in a hospital, according to Dr. Kitts.
“We know patients don’t usually eat at 8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. We need to be a lot more flexible.”