Thursday, July 17, 2014 — Deron Hamel
Since launching its #NursingHomeFood campaign in early June, The OMNIway has brought to light several stories highlighting the top-notch food created in the kitchens of OMNI Health Care-owned long-term care homes.
Recently, Frost Manor hosted a plating contest in the Lindsay long-term care home’s kitchen as part of OMNI Health Care’s ongoing Quality Matters initiative. Cook Kathy Pratt won top honours for “best dressed plate” with her unique take on roast chicken.
Pratt’s creation consists of roasted chicken slices lightly covered with a honey-garlic sauce accompanied by roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
“There’s great creativity with Kathy’s dish,” says nutritional care manager Neil MacDonald. “She really took a nice approach to the plate, with the protein (the chicken) fanned out in the middle with the potatoes and the vegetables staggered around the dish, which really emphasized the balance of the plate with a nice focal point of the chicken in the middle with the sauce. There was some nice colour balance.”
Most people don’t think of Salisbury steak as a fancy meal, but Garden Terrace head cook Isioma Okolie has developed his own unique take on a ground-beef patty.
His idea behind the dish is simple: present residents with the type of food they enjoy and present it in a way that maximizes appearance. Most long-term care home residents, Okolie notes, have a different palate than younger generations, so simple meat-and-potato-type meals are the preference.
His version of Salisbury steak is a serving of quality ground beef topped with a few roasted potatoes and steamed cauliflower resting in au jus.
Okolie says he’s surprised at the fanfare his version for Salisbury steak the Kanata home’s residents, many of whom normally aren’t fans of ground beef.
The dish’s presentation has made the difference, he says.
“You eat with your eyes first,” he says.
But it’s not just savoury dishes that are making a splash with residents of OMNI homes. Take Streamway Villa nutritional care manager Garth Derry’s “exaggerated lemon meringue pie,” which has become a favourite on the Cobourg home’s menu.
What makes this pie “exaggerated” is its massive size and mountainous meringue topping.
Derry, who has also worked in high-end restaurants, says his lemon meringue pie is one example seen of the top-quality food served in long-term care homes today. It’s food like this that’s part of the change in long-term care homes over the years, he adds.
On a recent episode of TV’s Top Chef Canada, a judge disparagingly remarked that two contestants from the cooking reality show had created dishes that resembled “nursing-home food.”
In response, Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food services, wants to show the world just what “nursing-home food” really is and how chefs and cooks working in long-term care sector can produce top-quality dishes as good as anyone.
Keep reading The OMNIway to stay up to date on this series. You can also use the Twitter hashtag #NursingHomeFood.
If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.