Maggie Beer: “Everything old should be new again.”

Food celebrity, Maggie Beer, has called on providers to introduce heart into their menus and to rethink their methods of food service.

Food celebrity, Maggie Beer, has called for the sector to inject soul into menu design, to put pleasure back into food service and to give older people joy through their palette.

The Senior Australian of the Year urged providers to return to the old ways of thinking about food albeit, with a new twist at the Aged and Community Services Australia National Conference in Hobart.

Aged care chefs, she said, should aim to not just cook a functional and nutritious meal, but to serve up a sense of happiness on a plate.

“I’m here as a cook,” said Beer. “My age is 65 but I don’t think I’ll ever feel like a senior

“When I look at where so many seniors are I’m sad that so many people in the autumn of their lives loose their identity and their independence.

“I’d rather shoot myself then be in [a facility] eating the food on offer. Thankfully there are exceptions. But, it makes me want to fight for another option.”

Food in the sector, she said, is often considered to be functional. “But that’s not good enough for aged care”.

“[Food service] should be a based on a lifestyle model and not just a medical model.

“There are many forms of joy but the most consistent and sustaining is through food.

“Food is more than a means of sustenance. It has to be a pleasure and bring joy to those who need joy.”

It is a culture gone wrong, she said, when tinned and processed foods- “the death of a food culture”- are preferred over fresh ingredients and traditional methods of good cooking in aged care.

“They are against everything that is new again.”

A return back to the old ways of cooking is what is needed, Beer said, where food is understood to be a source of joy. That would require facilities to deliver meals composed of hearty ingredients with a great flavour, smell, texture and of course taste.

“Common sense has got to come into it. Why is it harmful for a 90 year old who wants cream twice a week [to have that]? Even for a 90 year old with diabetes? It doesn’t have to come with chocolate cake…They must be allowed pleasures.”

Beer remained positive, if not inspirational about achieving change in the sector. Firstly, she said, providers need the right staff and the right foods; chefs need to be specifically trained in aged care and more expertise in facility kitchens, small and large, is required.

“It’s not rocket science…We have to allow for a culture of change to happen.”

“Pandora’s Box has been opened now and I hope that today, I have convinced everyone that change can occur.”
 

Tags: aged-andcommunity-services-australia, aged-are, conference, maggie-beer, national,

2 thoughts on “Maggie Beer: “Everything old should be new again.”

  1. I am so happy Maggie Beer is taking up this cause! I currently prepare food for my mum because the food at her other wonderful, home is awful, just awful!

  2. I have just recently returned from six weeks work experience at Gwinganna where I confirmed my long term belief that food is where we need to start if we want to live a life of optimal wellness getting older should not mean that this is any less important. Maggie is wonderful bringing this to the attention of us all. I am determined to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people and where better to start.

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