10 basics to create a “Dining Experience” in Aged Care
- Delicious Meal
- Food Temperature
- Service Quality
- Service Order
- Meal Choice
- Dietary Requirements
- Equipment & Crockery
As the judges say in MasterChef “In the end it all comes down to Taste”. Delicious Meal comprises of many things such as
Quality of ingredients – Quality of ingredients decide 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 (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.
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 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
Maintaining food temperature from cooking until the meal is served is very crucial. Temperature of food makes a huge difference in texture, colour & taste of the dish. For example, a soup that served hot tastes a lot better than the same soup that is served lukewarm. Hot fish and chips tastes a lot different then fish n chips that’s been cooked 15-20 mins ago
Retaining ingredients integrity is very crucial. Soft but not overcooked, Crispy / Crunchy but not hard. For example, Panna cotta that has soft jelly like texture will taste completely different to hard set panna cotta
A well-presented meal is half the battle won when it comes to great dining experience. It can be as small as a slice of strawberry, a cherry on cream or few leaves 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. Proportion of the Meat to sides and sauce plays a major role in serving a great meal
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 great dining experience
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 an icing on the cake
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 correct and completed before moving on to the next table
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 fulfil that request makes a huge difference to resident’s dinner
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
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
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