Two Care UK teams have been shortlisted for National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Awards for their commitment to ensuring care home residents have dignity, choice and great food.
The hospitality team, led by food and services director Jon Bicknell, has been shortlisted for the Catering Team of the Year award, while the kitchen team at Ferndown Manor in Dorset has been shortlisted in the Care Establishment of the Year category.
Jon said: “I am delighted that both teams have reached the finals. Care UK has invested heavily in equipment, training and excellent produce, ensuring residents have food that not only looks and tastes as one would expect from fine dining, but that also has the nutritional content to enhance their health and wellbeing.
“We have also worked with academics at Anglia Ruskin University to better understand the broader nutritional needs of older people, taking into account factors such as glycaemic loading and digestible carbohydrates.”
The Anglia Ruskin research has also contributed to the teams’ commitment to healthy, active snacking. Jon said: “Snacking is particularly encouraged for residents living with dementia, who can experience altered appetites or be very active and need extra calories. Alongside fresh fruit and yogurts, many snacks are homemade, including cakes, cheese straws and sausage rolls.
“James Clear, hotel services manager, and regional support chef Andrew Musset have developed snacking and texture-modified recipe books to inspire chefs to lift their game, with each recipe marked with diet and allergy suitability. And, because we have a commitment to serving our wider communities, these free resources are also available online for anyone caring for a loved one.
“We have worked, too, with the University of Worcester’s Dementia Studies department, who provide training for all of our kitchen teams. This gives them a deeper understanding of how people with dementia experience food and the dining experience.”
Along with suppliers, the Hospitality Team has created a series of masterclasses for chefs in order to further enhance their skills and maximise their creativity. Masterclasses have included butchery, taste-layering, seafood, modified diets and chocolate work.
The proof of the strategy can be seen in the kitchen at Ferndown Manor, where Head Chef Scott Moore manages a flexible menu, designed to maximise the dining options open to the home’s residents.
Scott said: “We give every consideration to residents’ preferences when creating menus. Each menu runs on a three-week cycle and is updated seasonally. Changes are made on a rolling basis to reflect residents’ feedback and an alternative menu is always available.”
To help with menu development, Scott introduces tasting menus at mealtimes, inviting residents to try new dishes. The most popular dishes will then appear on the new season’s menu. The team monitors what’s popular and adapts the menu accordingly.
He added: “The residents, as well as the team, were delighted when they heard we had reached the finals. They quite rightly feel their input has helped us make it to the finals!”
The winners of this year’s NACC awards will be announced at the National Training & Development Forum, East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, on Thursday 10th October 2019.