The head chefs from Meallmore’s 22 care homes gathered for a two-day catering conference.
The event – which was held at the company’s newest care home, Mearns House, and also at the Tennent’s Training Academy Cook School – allowed the chefs to share best practice and develop their skills.
Training included an in-depth insight into how Dementia’s impact on the senses can affect a resident’s mealtime experience. The conference also provided the opportunity for chefs to develop their all-round knowledge and skills, such as how to best cater for residents with specific dietary requirements, including gluten intolerance and texture modified diets.
The conference was organised by Meallmore regional catering manager, David Blackwood, with support from Meallmore suppliers, including Bidvest, Unilever and Campbells Prime Meat.
David explained the benefits of bringing all the head chefs together: “All of our chefs go the extra mile to ensure our residents are well catered for, with a focus on making mealtimes enjoyable. Bringing our chefs together allows them to share great ideas with each other and train them on the latest developments in the sector.
“Ensuring our residents are well catered for during their time with us is a key to their overall wellbeing. It’s important that we provide variety and quality, whilst also ensuring we cater to their individual needs and preferences.”
After training from industry experts, the conference ended with a cook off, where the chefs were paired up and challenged to create a delicious and exciting afternoon tea selection.
David said: “Afternoon tea is something our residents look forward to, so we took the opportunity to improve our chef’s baking skills and show them innovative ways of improving the nutritional content, by incorporating more fruit and vegetables”.
The final products were tasted by three independent judges, with head judge Paul Wright of Unilever commenting: “All the teams did a fantastic job under extreme conditions. The brief they received would be difficult in their own kitchens, but to turn out the delights they did in an unfamiliar environment was a tremendous effort. Making a final decision was tough, but Paul from Airthrey and Janet from Hilton Court were clear winners, with a delectable selection of sweet and savoury treats accompanied by some fresh fruit”.