There’s not much people fear more than hospital food. Good food is rare, and it is often said that it doesn’t make you healthier either. Joshna Maharaj, a food activist from Canada, has taken up this very special cause. Using simple means, she wants to help the culinary arts find their way into hospitals.


Anyone who has spent a long time in hospital will probably not associate their stay with memories of excellent food. Bread, wrapped in plastic film, just sits their sweating, while vegetables are boiled to a mush and robbed of their good taste, and in general the food is prepared mechanically rather than lovingly.

It’s important to avoid any misunderstandings here. Employees do, of course, have enormous time constraints, so it is all too understandable that good food plays only a minor role when they weigh up their priorities. And yet it has to be said that hospital food should actually benefit the patient. It should contribute to a quick recovery, which it certainly could do in the best-case scenario.

The reality is, of course, different. Patients gulp down their food as quickly as possible, so that they don’t have to think about it. If you’ve ever seen I’m a Celebrity…, the association is hard to ignore. But jokes aside.

It is not uncommon for people to wait desperately for their friends and family in the hope that they will bring them something enjoyable to eat.


Joshna Maharaj is a food activist from the suburbs of Toronto, Canada. She is also well aware that hospital food is the butt of plenty of jokes. In her view, though, sloppy bread and weirdly yellow cheese are some of the less unpleasant things patients have to put up with.

Her stated aim is a kind of rescue mission: Save hospital food! She argues that providing and improving food in a public institution is not rocket science. Nor does it involve huge additional costs. Instead, it is better to put available resources to better use. The focus must not be on profit, but on patients’ recovery and satisfaction.

Joshna Maharaj has devised dishes that can be used internationally. They should also take into account the respective circumstances. A freshly baked brioche, for example, would benefit from clingfilm because this prevents it from drying out.


According to Joshna, appealing and high-quality food is by no means impossible. Not every product would need to be pre-prepared. According to her calculations, using fresh ingredients and well-trained kitchen staff would only cost an additional 37 cents per meal. There is no questioning the value for money.

Finally, Joshna has another amusing example. During her time in a hospital kitchen, the patients were served apple slices in plastic bags. Her idea was extremely simple. She served the patient a whole apple – and with it the farmer’s best wishes for a speedy recovery. Sometimes it doesn’t get any simpler. It really is possible to rescue hospital food!