Good food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and often one of the few things you will have to look forward to when you’re old. Yet among the serious criticisms levelled at rest homes by families, is the dreadful food their older relatives have to put up with. In fact, quality of food is a major reason for choosing one rest home over another.
However, this week chefs from rest homes around the country will set out to prove that good food really is at the top of their menu when they compete in the ‘Lifestyle Cuisine’ category at the New Zealand Chefs National Salon 2016.
The category has been created by three industry experts who are determined to raise the standard of food in rest homes: ServiceIQ Sector Manager of Hospitality, Food Services and QSR, Pippa Saxon; Dietician and Food Advisory Service Consultant, Pip Duncan, and MediRest Area Manager Shaun Corlett.
Pippa Saxon says:
“In New Zealand elderly residents should be able to expect good quality cooking that looks attractive and tastes delicious, every meal of the day. Along with showing respect for our elders, serving good quality food is a basic essential for a person’s health and well-being.”
Satisfying the different cultural and dietary requirements for residents can present a challenge for care home cooks. For instance, many dishes need to be pureed to make the food easier to eat and digest.
“The trick is to present this kind of food attractively, make it tasty and appetising,” says Pippa. “Every dish must have plenty of appeal to tempt diners and be delicious enough to want to come back for seconds. Those are the ingredients for success,” says Pippa.
She says that while some care homes don’t bother trying, others know that with the right attitude, skills and fresh ingredients, good food is easily achievable.
“The best care homes, whether they are modest or more expensive places, they demonstrate their real care and respect for residents by serving healthy, delicious and satisfying meals.”
Now into its second year, the competition attracts a lot of support from chefs and the food catering sector.
“Everyone is striving to come up with a point of difference to attract and satisfy residents. It’s also a rewarding career for young chefs, and one where opportunities will increase as more and more of the population enters retirement.”
Chefs from ten care homes and one hospital will compete in competition.
Pippa helps chefs and cooks in the residential care sector, catering sector and district health boards to gain the skills they need to serve healthy, high quality food to elderly patients and residents.