Silver Service from SilverCrest Care
Last month we were delighted to meet Home Manager Stuart Davies and his team at Morgana Court Care Home in Bridgend. Morgana Court was the 1,000th organisation to join Vegetarian for Life's UK List – a directory of care establishments and food suppliers that pledge to cater well and ethically for older vegetarians and vegans. Stuart reports on his team's commitment to providing delicious, nutritious plant-based meals – not to mention being the recipient of a glistening new VfL trophy!
Meal times play a key role in the day-to-day activities of residents within care homes, with many planning their day around meals and also using meal times as a basis of knowing what time of day it is. They also play a major role in interaction with others. The ‘dining experience’ is one to be enjoyed and looked forward to, the same goes for the meals that are being produced and offered.
Having worked in care for 20+ years and manged small, medium, and large homes I have seen a great difference in the provision of meals. Some with many meal options to offer, some with little to offer. One thing that strikes me is that they tend to be your usual standard meals: fish and chips, ham and chips, curry and rice, cheese sandwiches, ham salad sandwiches etc. Never very exciting; which is why when I have had the opportunity I have tried to expand on the variety of meals we can offer, with emphasis being placed on home-cooked meals. A homemade minty pea & potato soup with freshly made warm homemade crusty rolls is a lot more appetising than tomato soup out of a can! Why not a homemade roasted vegetable cottage pie instead of the usual shepherd’s pie?
With this in mind, we have looked at how we can cater for the ever-changing needs of our residents and how we can ensure that we can provide tasty, nutritious meals that meet our residents’ dietary preferences, and/or special requirements i.e. modified diets. Providing the best all-round care with a holistic and person-centred approach is very important to me and the SilverCrest group as a whole, and meal times and nutrition are key factor in this.
This is where Vegetarian for Life came in very useful. I stumbled across them looking for ideas on the internet for fresh homemade slightly different meal options.
Now I can’t say that I am a vegetarian myself but sometimes when my partner and I have been out to dinner (she is a vegetarian) and our meals arrive I ask myself ‘why didn’t I go with that lovely looking pasta cooked with courgettes, white wine, garlic and cream, instead of my simple chicken breast and potato?’ It always looks so much better.
Which got me thinking, ‘Why don’t we offer these meals within our homes? Surely you don’t have to be vegetarian to eat vegetarian food!' And so the idea began. With little persuasion our main cook developed some beautiful golden vegetable cottage pies, vegan lasagnes, sweet potato curries and even vegan deserts! The residents, always sceptical to begin with, thoroughly enjoyed the exciting new dishes and found them all very tasty, and all asking ‘what are we trying next’?
Even though we do not have any vegetarian or vegan residents with us at present, having these options provided on a regular basis will ensure that if and when we do we will be very well prepared and able to meet their requirements.
Signing up to Vegetarian for Life's UK List has been of great benefit to us in finding new exciting recipes along with all the other very useful resources that they have to offer, not to mention the lovely shiny trophy we were awarded for being the 1,000th member to join. We are now all looking forward to a pop-up cooking demo from Roving Chef, Ollie!
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