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From pastries to potatoes

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Feb 25/05) - The staff prepares 21 different meals every week, serves about 250 meals a day, goes through nearly 300kg of meat and at least as many pounds of potatoes each week.

Cook Derek Morfitt takes a tray of fresh-baked pastries out of the oven. - Jason Unrau/NNSL photo

For Derek Morfitt, working in the hospital kitchen is both challenging and rewarding.

"Working here is definitely busy but it's been a real learning experience," said the cook, who first learned the job in the kitchen of the Yellowknife Inn. "Prior to this I never did any baking, I was a meat and potatoes kind of cook."

A typical day for Morfitt begins at 6:30 a.m. when he arrives bright and early to prepare breakfast by 7:30 a.m. for patients, hospital staff and visitors to the hospital cafeteria.

As the morning crowd clears out, Morfitt moves right into preparing lunch. When he works the dinner shift, on the other hand, his responsibilities are to prepare the evening meal, help out with lunch if things get busy and prep for breakfast the following day.

"The hectic part is making sure everything is done on time," Morfitt said, adding that it's often difficult to predict if there are going to be more customers than usual on any particular day.

Working from a weekly menu, Morfitt and his colleagues prepare 21 different meals each week.

"You learn a lot so it's a good job," he said, while removing a fresh batch of pastries from the oven. "The people who work here are great and you never go hungry."