2018 HLAC Catering Innovation Award – Bolton Clarke

2018 HLAC Catering Innovation Award – Bolton Clarke

Bolton Clarke - Restoring the joy of food in aged care

Restoring the joy of food in aged care.

With more than half the aged care population expected to be on texture modified diets in the next five years, Bolton Clarke is taking a strategic view to reshaping its food service to cater for the needs of residents today and tomorrow.

Texture modified foods have come a long way – moving beyond simple moulded foods to breads, noodles, desserts and even wine. Combining advances in molecular gastronomy techniques and the incorporation of fresh ingredients, chefs from Bolton Clarke’s residential aged care communities have been piloting new ways to serve attractive, fresh food that not only retains its flavour and nutritional value, but is linked to a reduction in the need for dietary supplements.

Partnering with the Maggie Beer Foundation, Bolton Clarke has also implemented a program of training and menu innovation to improve the dining experience. The project builds on the existing relationship with its Be Healthy and Active Community Education programs and is an industry-first collaboration.

With an overriding strategy to ‘restore dignity and choice to residents on texture modified diets’, another focus has been to develop finger foods that can be eaten as small, regular snacks by people with dementia.

A stand out element of Bolton Clarke’s approach is the investment in training and development to ensure the rollout of the new food program is well understood and embraced by the people delivering the service. Accordingly, Bolton Clarke’s chef managers, food services team leaders and residential managers attended a ‘Masterclass’ with Australia’s best-loved cook, Maggie Beer. The Masterclass incorporated practical sessions including a mystery ingredient cooking challenge, as well as time with allied health experts and speakers on food and dementia, food as medicine and growing fresh food in aged care.

The proof in the pudding is in the tasting as they say, and in this case the pudding must taste pretty good – not only has there been a marked improvement in resident nutrition and wellbeing, the new options have restored the dignity of shared meal times, improved social interactions around food and importantly, offered residents greater independence and choice around meals.

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