“STOP using the “F” word”, Australian chef Maggie Beer said.
In this case, that “F” refers to aged care facilities, the subject of Ms Beer’s workshop in Armidale last week ‘Creating an Appetite for Life’.
Ms Beer believes that aged care homes should feel like home and a significant part of that comes down to cooking healthy, flavoursome meals that do not have to break the bank.
“If we can give them [aged care residents] the smells of home-cooked food, that feeling they are a person and still living, not just existing, that’s the thing we most want to do,” she said.
“It’s vital that we give food that is full of the right nutrition to give bodies the muscle mass and energy to be physical in whatever limited way possible – but without pleasure side by side to that nutrition it doesn’t improve their wellbeing.
“It has to be in every bite equal measures nutrition and pleasure.”
The Australian chef, food author and restaurateur cooked up a storm as part of her series of workshops to improve meal standards for aged care residents.
Chefs from across the region attended and learned to cook healthier meals and challenge the status quo in the kitchen.
The Apsley Riverview Hostel in Walcha sent along Kylie Goodwin and Hotel Services Supervisor Robyn Goodall.
The workshop was amazing,” said Ms Goodall.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to think, learn and reinforce the reasons why we love cooking for the residents of Riverview.”
Ms Goodall said she was surprised to discover the things her team find challenging the other facilities also find challenging.
“I was also pleased to confirm that we are already implementing a range of nutritious and innovative food ideas to ensure our resident have healthy food options that are appetising and appropriate to the resident food preferences at Riverview,” she said.
One thing, in particular, will be taken from the workshop and put into practice at the Riverview hostel.
“I will be looking at our dementia patient food service and how we can serve food in different and innovative ways,” said Ms Goodall.
“Things like the ease of eating and how to reduce confusion through methods like not having cutlery and having finger type meals. We also learned how to increase the taste in the food we cook and increase use of protein in meals which will assist with good nutrition outcomes.”
The Apsley Riverview Hostel was also one of five recipients of the Maggie Beer Foundation Wellbeing’s Garden Grant and say this will be used towards the installation of an indoor herb garden to increase the fresh produce they use.