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Where’s me Fork & Knife?

Four years ago, we introduced our first series of workshops specifically designed to support head chefs working within our care homes. These workshops have been fundamental in further developing the skills of our chefs, as well as an essential part of working with and supporting our culinary teams to ensure that our residents receive the very best dining experience. We have now extended the training opportunities by introducing a series of development courses specifically for our sous chefs.

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In collaboration with Premier Foods Care Development Chef, Louise Wagstaff, Avery’s Head of Culinary and Hospitality, Simon Lawrence, and Head of Dementia Care, Jo Crossland, have designed a bespoke course that progresses beyond the ‘finger foods’ and buffet-style catering that care homes have traditionally used to support residents who have difficulty manipulating cutlery.

Typically, residents living in care homes who experience difficulty using cutlery have either required help to eat from others or have been served buffet style ‘finger-foods’ at mealtimes.

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Although acceptable and appropriate for a party or similar occasion, reliance on these types of foods for main dietary intake increases the risk of undernourishment for an individual. It also increases the risk of stigmatisation by highlighting a person’s disability when one resident is served different food to others at the same table.

The established Avery culinary concept is to provide fresh, nourishing, well presented and appetising food for all residents that is locally sourced wherever possible. Our normalising approach to supporting individuals to continue to live well means that all of our residents, regardless of physical or cognitive ability or disability, can enjoy the same cuisine. Avery chefs are already skilled in adapting menus to support residents with differing needs, including those with swallowing difficulties or residents with specific dietary needs, such as low salt, high fibre or low sugar.

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Our innovative and sector-leading Cutlery-Free Whole-Dining Programme will ensure that our culinary teams can adapt every menu and even nibbles and appetisers. Residents who find manipulating cutlery difficult or even impossible will be able to maintain their independence and dignity without the need for cutlery, to ensure that all of our residents can experience tasty snacks. Further information about additional workshops and example recipes will be shared in future issues.

Article by Simon Lawrence, Head of Culinary & Hospitality for Welcome Home Issue 12.

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