10 basics to create a great “Dining Experience” in Aged Care

10 basics to create a great                    “Dining Experience” in Aged Care

10 basics to create a great “Dining Experience” in Aged Care

1. Delicious Meal:

As the judges say in MasterChef “In the end it all comes down to Taste”. A delicious meal comprises of many things such as: 

Quality of ingredients – The quality of ingredients decides the final outcome of the dish. There is a reason why some brand of ingredients sells a lot more than others.

Various texture & colour on a plate – Something crunchy on a side, something colourful on a plate to elevate the dish it can be as simple as little garnish on a plate

Appropriate accompaniments – A good quality burger is incomplete without appropriate sides

Authenticity of the dish – Try not to modernise traditional dishes too much, especially in Aged Care, a great dish to take residents back to a past time

Cooking technique – It’s very important to know how and when to cook the meat or veg or the sides. It can me as simple as  the cooking temperature. For Example, Chips can be fried in hot oil at 140 degrees and also at 180 degrees. The end result is the difference between an ordinary chips & great crunchy chips

Variety of meals – Varity of meals allows to cater for people with difference taste buds and different cultural background

2. Food Temperature:

Maintaining food temperature from cooking until the meal is served is very crucial. The temperature of food makes a huge difference in texture, colour & taste of the dish. For example, a soup that is served hot tastes a lot better than the same soup that is served lukewarm or cold. The taste of fresh fish & chips takes best when served fresh, the taste of old, soggy fish & chips isn’t appetising to any of us. Working on procedures and equipment to ensure storage of hot food is kept to keep our elders eating fresh hot food 

3. Texture: 

Retaining ingredients integrity is very crucial. Soft but not overcooked, crispy or crunchy but not to hard. For example, Panna cotta that has soft jelly like texture will taste completely different to an over set panna cotta

4. Presentation:

A well-presented meal is half the battle won when it comes to great dining experience, it doesn’t matter what age we are, we eat with our eyes. It can be as small as a slice of strawberry, a cherry on cream or few sprigs of parsley on the meal. Another important aspect of meal presentation is the proportion of each component. A large lamb shank with a spoonful of Mash or plate full of gravy will change the dish completely. Adequate portion size meat to sauce can also play a major role in serving a great meal. 

5. Ambiance:

The ambiance of the dining room can really set up the mood for meal times. Sufficient light, great décor, air temperature, not too congested seating arrangements, comfortable chair, properly set up tables… all these are key aspects of a great dining experience

6. Service Quality:

It makes so much difference to walk into the dining room where you are welcomed with a great enthusiasm. Being served by people who are excited and passionate about the meals that they serve is just the icing on the cake

7. Service Order:

Making sure that everyone at the table receives their meal at same time. Also, in aged care setting it is vital to start the service from a different table each day. Ensure that one table is served correctly and completed before moving on to the next table

8. Meal Choice:

In aged care set up, it is good to have some quick and easy meal options handy. Sometimes if the resident feels like a simple toasted sandwich for dinner, being able to fulfill that request makes a huge difference to the resident’s dinner

9. Dietary Requirement:

Knowing your resident is the first priority in aged care. Making yourself aware of residents’ special diet requirements will make your job a lot easier and will be a part of great service

10. Equipment & Crockery:

Ensuring that all equipment is in good working condition. Sufficient & Matching crockery & cutlery. Being able to provide special cutlery, bibs, double handle mugs, plate guards etc is also an integrated part of dining experience