Queensland aged care provider Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities has launched an on-site monthly cooking class this month for residents.
Cooking Odyssey involves residents preparing and cooking food with the provider’s three chefs, who specialise in different cuisines including Asian fusion and Japanese.
Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities CEO and founder Phil Usher said the program aimed to provide residents with opportunities to be creative and social and learn new skills.
“The idea came from residents wanting to share their recipes and ideas with Odyssey’s three chefs and wanting to be involved in the cooking process with suggestions and cooking techniques,” Mr Usher told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“We have an on-site restaurant, so our residents don’t need to cook, but it was clear they enjoy and value the community that has developed within our restaurant and kitchen and they want to be a part of that and bring their experiences and cooking secrets to the chefs and other residents,” he said.
The eight residents who participated in the first cooking class made scone dough and prepared traditional scones, mini pizzas and fruit scrolls.
Mr Usher said the home expects participation to increase “as word gets around how much fun the first one was.”
The program also aims to help residents build confidence in the kitchen and stay connected to an activity they enjoy.
“They can also bring this into other elements of their life and cook with the grandchildren or great grandchildren,” he said.
Mr Usher said feedback has been positive.
“The residents loved the first lesson and got a real kick out of sharing a fun activity with one another. There were a lot of laughs, smiles and of course satisfaction when the residents sat down with everyone and enjoyed what they had cooked themselves,” he said.
“They also said it was fun to simply cook for the fun of it for a change… and can’t wait until next month’s lesson.”
Mr Usher said the provider planned to collate the recipes that residents share and learn into an Odyssey cookbook.
Cranbrook Care residents share recipes
Elsewhere Cranbrook Care Bayswater Gardens residents Mina, Gae and Christine in New South Wales have shared their recipes for lasagne, sponge cake and slow-cooked beef, bean and mushroom pepper pot.
Some of the recipes have been passed down by family members and others aim to begin a new tradition for generations to come, a spokesperson for Cranbrook Care said.
“We have residents from many cultures and backgrounds at Bayswater Gardens so sharing recipes allows our residents to express their culture,” the spokesperson told AAA.
Mina’s daughter Claudia Rinaldi sourced her mother’s lasagne recipe from an old book written in her mother’s native tongue.
“I hope that future generations will enjoy this same delicious meal for years to come,” Ms Rinaldi said.
Gae shared her sponge cake recipe, which has won prizes at local shows, and Christine shared her pepper pot recipe, which is a favourite among her children.
“They were excited to share their recipes and hoped that others would enjoy them as much their families and friends do,” the spokesperson said.
“They would all be more than happy to provide more recipes in the future and other residents would also be interested in sharing recipes,” the spokesperson said.
Main image: An Odyssey Lifestyle Care Community chef and resident at the cooking class