West Australian aged care provider Baptistcare has recruited a team of five-star chefs to ensure residents receive quality choices and appetising meals full of flavour.

Residents are now served flavoursome meals including a buffet breakfast from chefs, who come from fine-dining venues in the hospitality industry with no previous aged care experience.

The  approach, operated by Baptistcare’s catering arm Aurum, has been rolled out to the providers 11 aged care facilities in Perth and regional WA.

It is led executive chef Todd Cheavins, who previously worked at the Richardson Hotel Perth and cooked for celebrities while working at luxury hotels around the world.

Mr Cheavins said his background in high-end hotels and providing fine-dining experiences inspired him to adopt a similar approach into aged care. 

“I wanted to bring that same love and passion to aged care residents, and allow other chefs to bring their love and passion into Baptistcare kitchens too,” Mr Cheavins told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Mr Cheavins has handpicked to the team of chefs, who have worked in top hotels and restaurants around the world including The Ritz-Carlton Perth, Crown Casino, the Westin Singapore and JW Marriott Mumbai.

“And it shows in the way the food at Baptistcare is being cooked. There’s a greater focus on different flavours, textures, colours and presentation,” Mr Cheavins said.

Residents are offered choice and a selection of meals to ensure they are enjoyable, he said.

Options include slow-cooked lamb shanks, lemon cheesecake, pancakes with forest berries, herb-crusted salmon, garlic and thyme roast chicken, slow-cooked beef cheeks, beef ribs, corn on the cob and chicken wings.

“Yes, food needs to be nutritious and tailored to residents’ needs, but it also plays a critical role in evoking lovely memories,” Mr Cheavins said.

He said residents tell them the food is flavourful, bright, colourful and tasty.

“The introduction of a hotel-style breakfast buffet has been a big hit, with residents enjoying the choice of freshly prepared pastries, breads, homemade Bircher muesli and eggs cooked to order while they watch,” he said.

The approach benefits chefs with sociable working hours, shorter commutes, and more time with family.

“We’re no longer looking for the old skills traditionally associated with cooking in aged care,” Mr Cheavins said. Now it’s ‘Do you love to cook?’”.

Main image: Baptistcare’s five-star chef team from left: Shishir More, Wesley Chong, Todd Cheavins, Raj Thiruvathipuram, John Locke and Chinmay Dandekar.

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