By Leah Conway –
The Hill Care Group, which provides a residential home service around the North of England, hosted their ‘Hill Care Group Cook-Off’ contest.
The event aimed to raise awareness of the importance of dietary needs within dementia care. Often, residents can develop eating difficulties with chewing food and swallowing, otherwise known as Dysphagia.
Thirty-six care homes across the group participated in the Cook-Off. Staff at Longroyds and Pilling House Care Home based in Skelmanthorpe produced the meal that claimed first place at the Cook-Off. Its focus was on being tasty and full of nutrition and, importantly, a meal that was easy to consume.
Their homemade meal consisted of a main course of smoky beef stew with broccoli, cauliflower cheese, carrots, and mash, followed by a dessert of cinnamon and apple oat crumble with custard. Judge’s commented that they produced a “lovely meal that was also pleasing to the eye”.
Care home catering teams and management staff were able to display their skills and knowledge of creating meals that are tempting to the eye, taste good, and are high in calories and nutrients and are modified for ease of swallowing.
A positive dining experience
Dan Sheard, home manager at Longroyds and Pilling House Care Home, said: “We’re all thrilled to bits. Offering a positive dining experience and encouraging residents to eat and enjoy their meals is all part of the service we at Longroyds and Pilling offer.”
Vicky Taylor, divisional director for the Hill Care Group, was one of the competition judges. She said: “It was difficult to decide, with so many fantastic dishes.
“However, Dan and the catering team produced an understanding of the needs of residents living with dementia and produced a lovely meal that was also pleasing to the eye.”
Fellow judge Mandy Vernon, managing director for the Group, said: “They say you eat with your eyes, and the catering teams across our care homes did not disappoint. Congratulations to the staff at Longroyds and Pilling.”
Michelle Danks, operations director and another judge on the panel, said: “It’s essential that our residents are tempted to eat and that the meals they are presented with offer a positive dining experience. Dan and his team accomplished that and more.”
The final member of the judging team, Dave Richards, added: “The lovely meal produced by head cook Nicky Widdicombe shows her impressive understanding of the importance of all aspects regarding nutritional content while remembering that other senses of smell and visual appeal are vital to engage the elderly and promote the chances that they will enjoy the meal.
“Often forgotten is the fact that with age, some residents will potentially have a less acute palate than when younger, so seasoning, as in the case of paprika, can often be the “spice of life”.
“Nicola has, in my opinion, shown a very good understanding and repeatedly delivers the correct texture of diet for each individual resident, ensuring all food items are modified and presented to the highest possible degree, to allow safe swallowing while improving the nutritional outcome for all the residents at Longroyds and Pilling House.”