A free resource that aims to “inspire” aged care chefs with advice on how to create easy, delicious, and nutritious restaurant quality meals and improve socialisation among diners has been launched by Unilever Food Solutions.
The Celebrate Food toolkit contains 100 recipes as well as themed posters and “table talkers” designed to encourage resident engagement during meal times.
Accompanying each recipe is a nutrition panel and information on the average costs per serve, which range from 34 cents for chocolate and berry crepes to $4.62 for pork lemon cutlet with garlic mash.
Unilever Food Solutions managing director Yezdi Daruwalla said their team of chefs and researchers developed the toolkit in conjunction with their in-house nutritionist.
“It is important that the recipes we use to inspire chefs are also nutritionally balanced and meet strict industry requirements,” he said.
The toolkit was informed by the outcomes of a trial conducted in early 2013 which involved aged care providers and operators.
“We have seen firsthand the increasing pressure on chefs to deliver inspired and exciting meals, while juggling food budgets and staff availability, and immediately recognised that this is an area where we can help,” Mr Daruwalla said.
“[The toolkit] will make it easier for aged care chefs to serve varied and restaurant quality meals, and improve the social occasion and interactions between residents, family and staff during meal times,” he said.
Executive chef Scott Fraser from Queensland provider PresCare, which participated in the trial, said as meals could be the highlight of somebody’s day, it was important that the 38,000 meals they served to residents every week were restaurant quality.
“The Celebrate Food Toolkit has been very helpful especially when I write my recipes and plan my menu. It gives me a great starting point, saves me time, and the themed posters that come with the toolkit really encourage interaction among residents during meal time,” Mr Fraser said.
According to the book, cost-per-serve pricing has been calculated using the ‘Cooking the Books’ menu costing tool as at December 2013 and recipes have been nutritionally analysed using Foodworks Professional Xyris Software.
The Foodworks software package was a widely used and reputable tool among dietitians, according to the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).
When asked if the toolkit had been endorsed by the DAA or a suitably qualified person, Mr Daruwalla said it was developed with the guidance of the organisation’s nutrition and health assistant manager, Louise Bell, who was a qualified dietitian and accredited practising dietitian.