Operation Santa Claus

Doctors serve up Christmas cheer in cooking challenge for Operation Santa Claus

Annual event raises more than HK$750,000 for needy

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 January, 2017, 11:54am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 January, 2017, 8:09pm

While cooking may be routine for many, some doctors at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital find it more difficult than treating ­patients and conducting surgery.

This was why four doctors and one nurse were sponsored by colleagues to demonstrate their rarely shown culinary skills in a competition at the hospital’s ­Christmas party in order to raise funds for Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity appeal ­organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

“I haven’t cooked for years,” deputy medical superintendent Dr Tsao Yen-chow said while ­frying fresh lettuce with ­hazelnuts.

He recalled that the last time he cooked was some 20 years ago.

Dr Tsao’s wife, Marion Tsao Goh Mei-ling, also a doctor at the hospital, said her husband practised making the dish at home the day before the competition ­because he was taking it seriously.

“This must be more difficult than treating patients for him,” Tsao said as she captured her ­husband’s rare display of skill on her mobile phone camera.

“He doesn’t get much time to cook now,” she said.

All dishes were made from­ ­lettuce planted by competitors in the rooftop garden of the Happy Valley hospital two months ago and harvested only just before the cook off.

Dr Annie Chan On-on, ­director of the hospital’s gastroenterology and hepatology centre, said she had “zero idea about ­cooking”.

However, she won the competition with her lettuce wrap.

“I would not know what to do without my colleagues standing next to me and guiding me,” Chan said with a laugh. “It feels good to do something for a good cause with colleagues.”

Another deputy medical ­superintendent from the hospital, Dr Joseph Chan Woon-tong, who has been organising the ­fundraising event for eight years, said his motivation to do so had not waned.

“The active and dedicated ­responses from my colleagues have made the event very rewarding and meaningful to hold every Christmas,” Chan said.

More than 1,500 members of staff participated in the Operation Santa Claus campaign.

The party included four games stalls, one charity stall, and staff competitions.

More than HK$750,000 was raised from the activities.

According to Chan, the ­purpose of the party was not only to raise funds for charity but also to provide health care workers with some fun and festive joy.

“The patients we take care of are physically suffering in different ways – a smile from our staff will bring a difference,” he said.

“We are a health care organisation and we look after patients who are in need every day,” Chan said. “We will always need a heart that is filled with kindness in order to be caring.

“Participating in charitable events is good for our colleagues to build a heart of kindness.”