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The Real MasterChef

The Real MasterChef at Drusillas Zoo

Last night Celebrity MasterChef challenged participants to feed the customers and employees at London Zoo, but Zookeepers at Drusillas Park in East Sussex were left wondering if the celebrity chefs would have what it takes to cook for the zoo animals?

At Drusillas Park Zookeepers undertake a mammoth task of manning the zoo kitchens every day. Instead of making just 60 main meals in 3 hours, Drusillas MasterChef’s must cater for over 100 different animals; each with a highly complex and unique diet. No batch cooking here!

Drusillas Zoo Business Manager, Sue Woodgate, said: “All of the animals at Drusillas follow very carefully measured and monitored diets to ensure they are at their optimum weight and peak physical fitness at all times. We work around the clock to ensure our animals are happy and healthy; and diet and nutrition sit at the core of this.”

“Our team of amazing Keepers work tirelessly throughout the day to serve up tasty and nutritional dishes for our animals. They quite literally have to be master chefs and prepare meals for every diet, from meaty meals to veggie meals to insect-loaded meals and more. It’s a real talent and very hard work to get everyone fed each day, especially when you take in to account that some of the primates will eat up to five times a day! Now that is some serious chef-ing”

An average weekly shopping bill at the Drusillas includes: 36kg beetroot, 18kg broccoli, 30kg large carrots, 6 large cauliflower, 12 cabbages, 12 bunches celery, 15kg swiss chard, 15kg chicory, 15kg courgettes, 42 cumbers, 15kg curly kale, 50 kg fine green beans, 15 kg leeks, 15kg pak choi, 36 bunches of spring onions, 20kg of sweet potato and that’s just the veg! The shopping list for meat and insects is even larger!

Zoo Business Manager, Sue Woodgate, said: “You might notice fruit is missing from our list. Drusillas became a fruit free zoo a few years ago after studies showed how the sugars in fruit affect animal health. Since implementing their vegetable only diet plan, every one of zoo’s animals has maintained a stable and healthy weight.
 “All fruit items have been removed from our plant-eater’s diets completely and replaced by vegetable alternatives. Even the fruit bats have swapped a diet of melon and mangos for sweet potatoes and parsnip.”

“The reason for this is that the fruit cultivated for our own consumption is much sweeter, higher in calories and lower in fibre than that which the animals would naturally eat in the wild. This is not only bad for their waistlines; it is also bad for their teeth.”

This simple change in diet has had a big impact on the health of the animals and Drusillas’ Zookeepers are thrilled with the results.
Drusillas Zoo Business Manager, Sue Woodgate, said: “We think we’ve got what it takes to compete on MasterChef – 60 dinners is nothing! We’d love to see if the celebs could prep food for a whole zoo of animals!”

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