Almonte Country Haven residents want from-scratch cooking, so that’s what they get

Almonte Country Haven nutritional care manager Dave Benn holds a tray of made-from-scratch chocolate eclairs his team prepared for residents.

Serving homemade food results in high intake and happy residents at the Lanark County LTC home

ALMONTE, Ont. – Whether Almonte Country Haven residents are tucking into a traditional Sunday dinner of roasted prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, enjoying crème brûlée for dessert or snacking on a chocolate eclair with a cup of tea, they can count on the food being made from scratch.

Dave Benn, the Lanark County long-term care home’s nutritional care manager, says residents expect no less, and he and his team aim to please.

“At this home we have a lot of farmers and they expect their food to be homemade; they don’t (want) food from a box or from a can, so we try to do as much homemade (cooking and baking) as possible because we think it’s better for the residents because we know what’s going into their food,” he tells The OMNIway.

Dave and the rest of the Almonte Country Haven nutritional care team clearly have a passion for their work. The OMNIway recently spent a day in the home’s kitchen, observing team members lovingly make everything from homemade pizza to crème brûlée to meatballs to turkey sandwiches from meat carved straight from a roast.

Nearly everything made in the Almonte Country Haven kitchen is created from scratch. Pies, both fruit-filled and savoury, are a particular favourite among residents. Of course, residents can rest assured the shells and crusts on their apple pies and tourtières are made fresh and rolled out in the kitchen.

“We did over 800 pies last year,” Dave says, adding one team member is so gifted at rolling pie-crust dough she can make up to 40 shells an hour.

Because residents enjoy made-from-scratch cooking and baking, their food intake is high, Dave notes.

Dave regularly attends residents’ council meetings to get feedback on the food he and his team serve. The comments are overwhelmingly positive and complaints are as rare as a loaf of store-bought banana bread in the Almonte Country Haven kitchen.

“We have not had an issue on food in over a year,” he says.

– More to come

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