13 Nov 2018 HLAC Chef Manager Award National Winner – Lorin Jacobs, Rathdowne Place
Fresh and flavoursome at Rathdowne Place.
Since coming on board nearly two years ago, Lorin Jacobs has made significant changes to the way residents are catered for at Rathdowne Place. Previously, over 40% of meal items were purchased precooked with desserts in particular not being made fresh on site. Lorin overhauled this and today over 95% of meals are now made on site from scratch by Lorin and his team.
Lorin has maintained a seasonal 28-day menu with a choice of two main meals made fresh daily at both lunch and dinner. Freshly made soups, desserts and morning and afternoon teas add further variety and interest to the menu. He encourages his team to listen to feedback from residents and is not afraid to make a change to the menu based on that feedback.
He prepares his menu for the season four weeks in advance to allow enough time for the Residents Focus Group to provide feedback on their likes, dislikes and wish list for the new menu. He meets with individual residents, as well as inviting them to the production kitchen to spend some time with him so they feel a part of the journey from culinary concept to food on the plate.
Lorin helps coordinate the Australian Unity chefs’ monthly meeting group where group procurement and chefs meet and discuss menus, produce and supplier concerns so that any changes or supplier feedback is well coordinated. He ensures the menu is culturally appropriate catering to Italians, Greeks, Germans, and Anglo Australians to name just a few. This focus has seen a massive drop in food complaints year on year since his arrival from 25 to just 8.
The interaction with residents and has been instrumental in the creation of themed luncheons, morning teas and dinners. Rathdowne Place has a fantastic lifestyle program that engages residents in culturally diverse themes from Australia Day, NAIDOC Week to Italian social club luncheons. Their success is built on fantastic catering and Lorin leads these events with live cooking demonstrations with residents, giving everyone a direct connection to the day and the celebration through food. Recently, Rathdowne Place celebrated NAIDOC week, which was capped off by a wonderful indigenous food-inspired morning tea showcasing native ingredients Lorin had sourced and served on the day. The feedback from residents and other participants was outstanding.
Lorin’s passion for his craft, his team and the desire to bring joy to residents has seen a new era of fresh food catering at Rathdowne Place, much to the delight of residents and staff alike.