Loyd Grossman, best known as the Through the Keyhole presenter with strangled vowels, is heading the panel of celebrities 'overseeing' the overhaul of hospital food. He has a long record as a food journalist - as a restaurant critic for Harpers and Queen and presenter of Masterchef. But it is not immediately obvious why he should have been given the NHS job. When asked, he snaps that he does not know and 'you would have to ask the DoH'.
His remit was to put together a panel of chefs to feed views into the NHS. The chefs have been undertaking 'a large number of visits' to hospitals across the country. It has to be asked what sort of expertise they bring, when none of the panel is exactly used to mass catering. 'It is the people who do mass catering that got us into the mess we are in now, ' he replies.
And anyway: 'I think people should recognise that the executive chef of the Savoy is conversant with largescale catering. The idea that all these people are messing about with radicchio all day is ridiculous.'
The menu framework and first recipes were due to be delivered before Christmas, with the panel working on a large number of suggested recipes through January. Trusts should have these by April: 'I think that if you have a tight deadline something happens. It tends to concentrate everybody's mind'.