Chef sets up online group for care caterers

Jamie O’Connell has set up a Facebook page for care chefs to share dishes and best practice.

A chef has created an online group to bring together care caterers and share inspiration.

Jamie O'Connell has launched The Care Home Food Guide on Facebook, a group which has now attracted more than 250 members.

He was inspired to create the group as a place to bring together care chefs, share recipes, tips and best practice.

"I have six years’ experience working in care catering and being a kitchen manager, and have watched the sector develop and change vastly from my initial induction to what I’ve created today," he says.

"Learning from others in the sector and taking residents’ preferences and needs to make something different has been great to be a part of. I have been able to implement changes that make a difference to the dining experience of our residents."

Jamie O'Connell, who has set up the group.

He says care catering has changed significantly in the last few years, with chefs improving standards and moving away from stereotypes.

"In the last few years the way dining in care homes has changed dramatically and all for the better," he says. "What is happening is the sector is breaking away from that stereotypical standard of what care home food is perceived as and offering more choices - fresh ingredients, the presentation of a more exclusive menu, and dining experience you would expect to pay for in a high end restaurant."

He adds: "By setting up The Care Home Food Guide I have worked with NHS professionals and nutritional experts in the field to put together an informative and inclusive base for all professionals in the catering care sector. By doing this, it gives a picture of what all care homes across the UK can have in place for residents in care. It showcases creations that others can see, and inspire and inform their own ideas."

Each month the group will have a topic - the first was IDDSI-compliant food for residents with swallowing difficulties. He says there was an "amazing response" from the sector, with examples of puréed meals and desserts shared.

"If you’re a chef, care home manager or just looking to learn more about the care sector and want to see what the changed perception of care home food is then join us," he says.

The group can be found at 

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