Pavlova was on the dessert menu for patients at Mackay Base Hospital to celebrate Waitangi Day as part of the health service’s new cultural celebration menu.
New Zealand-born cook Shirreen Colman was on hand to help plate up 128 pavlovas topped with whipped cream, passionfruit syrup, kiwi fruit and blue berries.
“Today is a public holiday at home and pav would definitely be on the menu. There’d also be some hangis going on as well as people eating raw fish, white bait which is served as a fritter in batter or with scrambled eggs, as well as some sea urchin and abalone,” she said.
Ms Colman said kitchen staff were enthusiastic about preparing the new cultural menu.
“I think it’s marvellous, it gives everyone some idea of the other nationalities here and what goes on in the world.
“It shows the diversity of our workforce and our patients and it gets everyone more interested in the food and what goes on in other cultures,” she said
Food and Linen Services Manager Billy Nel said the pavlova was a popular choice and featured in 128 of the 181 meals served today.
The hospital is offering a cultural dish one day a month and each is served with an information flyer about the food and the country it comes from.
The pavlova follows pies and mushy peas on Australia Day and a traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander chicken curry for NAIDOC Day last year.
“We are always working to make meal time for our patients more enjoyable and think this is an exciting way to do it,” Mr Nel said.
He said while the pavlova offering had sparked debate about whether it was an Australian or New Zealand dish, the consensus it was a delicious menu offering.
“The debate of who first invented the pavlova can be traced all the way back to 1927 however one thing is for sure, when Aussies and Kiwis come together we seem to bring out the best in each other with some lasting and good tasting memories along the way,” he said.
The next menu celebration is St Patrick’s Day in March.