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eating fish on a Friday, a
roast meal for Sunday lunch
or the choice of meat and
• Food preferences involve
how we select one food
over another. For example
a person may like eating
potato but prefers roasted
potatoes to mashed potato.
Our food habits, choices
and preferences are informed
by our past, present and even
our future. For example we all
have past meal experiences
that influence the food we like
to eat today. Sometime today,
plans will be made for dinner
tonight; and how exciting it
is to look forward to a special
meal for the Melbourne Cup
or Christmas in an aged care
home! Life centres around
food and since food is eaten
everyday it ties us all together
in the ritual of eating.
THE ART OF MEAL
Remembering all this, when
preparing food for others we
should stop and think about
what the food will mean to
that person or group of people
we are catering for. Planning
menus in aged care is not just
about planning food for the
week ahead and getting the
meals cooked and served. It's
about the role and significance
of a ritual experienced at a
person's dining room table in
It's the same for community
meal programs where meals
are delivered into a person's
own home in the community.
Sure it's mass catering at one
level but in the end it is an
individual person who will be
eating the meal. Ensuring that
menus are planned well with
input from the people you are
cooking for is essential.
Your services become the
food lifeline for older Australians.
When menu planning and
preparing meals for older
people, if we can think of the
meaning of food for others,
then food services will achieve
the most important goal -
delivering meals which will be
not just eaten but enjoyed. n
Karen Abbey is a foodservice
aged care specialist dietitian
currently undertaking a PhD
examining menu design in
residential aged care. She also
edits the free e-newsletter,
Nutrition and Catering Global
Dining with dementia
By Keryn Curtis
WE'VE REPORTED a couple of times on HammondCare executive chef, Peter Morgan-Jones,
including a career profile in our May June 2013 issue, exploring his history working with the
British royal family and then with some of Australia's best known chefs before moving to aged
care with HammondCare in 2012.
Morgan-Jones says that since coming to HammondCare, with the support of their dietician,
Emily Colombage, he has totally changed all the menus. He is also in the process of writing a
book about food, recipes and meal delivery, aimed at people caring for people with dementia.
"I have written over 140 recipes and have had a major crash course in dementia care and
support from our dementia centre.
"I have conducted lectures on how to improve the dining experience for people living with
dementia and I'm also working at the moment with research and development on improving
the dignity of people who have eating difficulties, harnessing my restaurant background in
molecular gastronomy," he said.
With most of HammondCare's residential services built on the small cottage principal, a key
objective is to simulate a home like environment as much as possible. This approach includes
having occasional formal dinners at home.
Following the success of a similar kind of event last year, Morgan-Jones hosted a special
Greek-themed dinner at one of the cottages at HammondCare's new Miranda facility in Sydney's south.
A special guest celebrity chef, Janni Kyritsis -- Morgan-Jones's former boss at Bennelong restaurant at the Sydney Opera House and MG
Garage in Sydney's Surry Hills - pitched in for the evening.
Greek born Kyritsis learned English reading cookbooks and worked with culinary legends, Stephanie Alexander and Gay Bilson before
opening the innovative MG Garage in 1997 where he was awarded three chef hats -- the rare and highest score possible - in his first year.
While he left the full-time restaurant world in 2002, he is still cooking and residents of Miranda's cottage had the privilege of tucking into
his slow-braised lamb with roasted carrots and orzo and a Greek custard pie with poached figs and pears at the Greek dinner in July.
"My dream would be to approach more of my culinary friends to assist in other dinners. We need to dissolve the stigma associated with
dementia care and we need more good people to help with the cause.
"I am also heavily involved with Maggie Beer to try and improve the quality and delivery of meals to residents around Australia. There
are many that do a good job, but sadly, for many more, food is perfunctory and cost driven, hence poor food quality and substandard
Chefs Janni Kyritsis
(left) and Peter
up slow-braised lamb.
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