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Gail Hendricks looks back on her time as a cook at the Groote Schuur Academic Hospital and how she plans to keep cooking for people who need it most.


Cape Town, South Africa (09 September 2022) – Heroes of Groote Schuur is a Facebook page dedicated to highlighting the amazing people who work or visit the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.

The page highlights all the incredible work being done by the staff who keep everything running smoothly. Heroes featured on the page often have the most interesting jobs.

One of the departments one almost never thinks of is the kitchen. Hospital food is essential to helping people keep their strength up. Gail Hendricks has worked in the kitchens for over 36 years. When she started, there were several kitchens, each one dedicated to religious dietary requirements. She worked in the Kosher Kitchen for many years before the kitchens were combined years later.

Gail is close to retirement and is looking forward to the moment, but she insists, that she will not give up her love of cooking. In fact, she plans to cook even more; to feed the needy children from her community.

“I’ve been working in the hospital’s catering department since I first started in 1986 when I was nearly 20 years old. But for many years I worked in a specific part of catering – the Kosher kitchen. At that time there was a Kosher kitchen, a Halaal kitchen and a Christian kitchen.

The Kosher kitchen doesn’t operate any more, but my time there was very nice. We made really nice food there. There were two cooks, and the supervisor was called Mrs Lipschitz. The cooks would prepare the food, and we’d take the food to the wards and serve the people there. The dieticians would keep an eye on everything, and make sure that the patients would get the right food. The work I was doing was really appreciated, and I got to serve the patients.

I now work in the production area of the main kitchen where we cook food for the whole hospital. We make all sorts of meals – fish, chicken, stew and vegetables. Now there is just one kitchen, and all the food is Halaal. I’d say that the crumbed chicken and the tomato bredie are my favourite foods made by the kitchen. Patients get breakfast and fruit; tea and sandwiches; lunch and supper, with tea and coffee in the afternoon.

I’m 56 now, and I’m about to take ill retirement after all these years. Thanks to God for all the strength he’s given me over the years. I have enjoyed my time here. I’m a jokey person and I like to talk to people, but the pain in my body has made it difficult for me to do my work lately.

Even though I’m retiring I’ll keep on working with food – I make soup for the people in my community of Delft with my own funds, and I’m going to continue doing this. Young, old – they all come to get food from me. God has blessed me and enabled me to provide for this out of my own pocket.” – Gail Hendricks, Food Service and Catering

Sources: Heroes of Groote Schuur
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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