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Hospital food, made delicious

Last week, I wrote a story about hospital chef Monique Bustamante and the hospital cuisine.
What I couldn’t mention in the article is what a pleasure it was to interview Monique. I’m not sure how she felt about it, but to me interviewing her was like having a conversation with a friend. As someone who interviews lots of people, this was a breath of fresh air. I’m not saying I don’t like some of my interviews, just that some feel a little more natural than others.
After interviewing Monique, she apologized for not being very talkative, but I think she was great. Sometimes, when I ask a question to an interviewee, all I get is a one-word answer. Just so you know, one-word answers don’t lend themselves well to story writing. Monique’s answers left the door open for a series of follow-up questions that I hadn’t even considered asking before the interview. I had pages and pages of notes that, in my opinion, turned into an interesting story.
Not only was she interesting, but she was also humble. She gave credit to the kitchen staff whenever she could. She is also not afraid to make mistakes, which is crucial in any line of work if you want to get ahead.
Anyway, after having such a great interview and then writing the story, I decided that I needed to venture back to the hospital during lunchtime to taste Monique’s culinary creations for myself. In case the readers of the Ennis Daily News didn’t know, I kind of really like food. So, on Monday, three of my coworkers and I went to the ERMC cafeteria.
Monique was there, serving the food herself. There was chicken spaghetti, peas, beef tips, rice and soup. I had the chicken spaghetti and some peas. It was great, and certainly better than food I’ve eaten at any other hospital!
After the story ran, I received an e-mail from a reader suggesting that Monique hold a cooking class for the residents of Ennis. I’m not sure if she could do this or not. I know she is really busy with two small children and a wedding coming up this summer, so I don’t know if she would have the time.
Monique is passionate about her craft, and that is not something everyone can say. She has loved cooking since she was young, and has never considered another career. She is very fortunate to know what she wanted to do, and took the necessary steps to get into the field. She puts her passion to work every weekday at the ERMC.
If you are looking for an inexpensive, good-quality place to eat during the day, the cafeteria at the ERMC is a great place to go. Don’t let the stigma associated with hospital food influence you. For a great meal, bring a clean palate and an open mind. Monique and her staff will take care of the rest.
Liz Crawford is a staff writer at the Ennis Daily News and can be reached at liz@ennisdailynews.com

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Posted by on Apr 27 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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