Avery Sous Chefs
Our nationwide Culinary Workshops are now in their third successful year, the 2019 focus being on Chefs Of The Future, the often unsung hero, the second in command – the trusted Sous Chef!
With the sous chef taking charge of the department for 130 days a year, it is essential that we equip them with the knowledge to ensure that they are well prepared to handle any Care Quality Commission or Environmental Health Officer inspection, whilst delivering high standards of food safety and top quality, appetising and nutritious meals.
Building upon our strong relationship with Premier Foods, we designed our first Sous Chef Development Day; a bespoke to Avery course delivered in conjunction with Louise Wagstaff, Premier Foods Care Development Chef.
These new workshops are a source of interactive learning, networking, team building, with the opportunity for sous chefs to develop new craft skills, build confidence, and brainstorm ideas. It’s an excellent way for Avery to receive feedback from our sous chefs, enabling us to better support them and their departments moving forward.
These involving forums include group discussions, live demonstrations, food tasting and product testing. There are practical sessions where chefs have to adapt quickly and work in groups, plus try new recipes and dishes in a dedicated but relaxed environment.
An essential element in training is to be able to support residents who have additional needs at mealtimes; for example, some have difficulty using cutlery due to physical or cognitive impairment. To enable our residents to remain as independent as possible, whilst continuing to enjoy their dining experience, it is essential that we can adapt our menus accordingly.
We are currently developing an innovative and contemporary concept to Cutlery-Free Dining that progresses beyond the traditional ‘finger-foods’ and buffet-style catering approach. In addition, we also recognise the importance of providing a variety of nibbles and appetisers throughout the day for residents to enjoy. Although relevant to all, providing snacks in this way for residents living with dementia is particularly helpful in supporting nutritional intake, as well as promoting choice, independence and enjoyment.
As part of our new approach to Cutlery-Free Dining, Simon Lawrence (Group Culinary Manager) and Jo Crossland (Head of Dementia Care) are working together to develop guidance and practical support for our chefs. Some of the cutlery-free recipes from the workshop included individual lamb and ale pies, parsnips in blankets, crustless quiche, mini pasties, enhanced calorie coconut naan breads and macaroni cheese bites. For those with a sweeter tooth, there were raspberry and almond fingers, banana and honey mini muffins, stuffed strawberries and chocolate pancakes. Cutlery-Free Dining is handy for everyone!
Article by Simon Lawrence, Group Culinary Manager, for Welcome Home Issue 10.