Making the best rest home food
30 May 2018
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Chef Andy Glover's food tastes as good as it looks
By Brenda Vowden, Hawkes Bay Today
If you asked people what they think about rest home food, they wouldn’t normally have much to say about it. Let’s face it, rest home food has an image problem— unappealing, unpalatable, inedible.
Banish those thoughts because things have changed. Gracelands’ chef Andy Glover came to Gracelands in November last year with an impressive CV, having held top roles at The Bach in Taupo, Sileni Estate Winery, Mission Estate Winery and Ormlie Lodge. His overseas experience includes head chef at a private members club in Mayfair, London, and senior sous chef under celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Ben O’Donoghue.
Andy is one of 12 aged care chefs from around the country entered in the Senior Lifestyle Cuisine competition at the Logan Campbell Centre in Auckland on August 12. A team of top industry judges mark competitors and their dishes against a tough world chefs judging standard, which includes criteria ranging from food preparation, taste and presentation through to professional practice.
I caught up with Andy and learnt a bit about being in the kitchen and preparation for the competition.
■ You haven’t been at Gracelands long — how did this appointment come about?
After being in restaurants for over 30 years, it was time for a new challenge. As area catering manager, I have an exciting opportunity to work with some awesome kitchen managers in a part of the hospitality industry that’s new to me.
■ How has rest home food changed and how recently has this happened?
I think rest home food has always had a stigma to it. Here at Gracelands and Oceania as a group, we are always looking at ways to improve the quality of the food and service. It is such a social part of the day. I’m in the process at the moment of creating a Gracelands cook book, full of resident’s favourite sweet and savoury recipes. It’s quite fun reading through all the old recipes and bringing all the old measurements and quantities up to date.
■ How has your impressive history as a chef set you up for your job at Gracelands?
As any chef knows, working as a team is so important along with time management. In a restaurant you spend hours getting all your prep ready for service then boom, it’s all gone in what seems like an instant. The environment may be different for me now but the same things apply.
■ How does this job differ from any of your others?
Before my appointment with Oceania, I had been in restaurants for just over 30 years. It’s not really that different—there are many dietary/special requirements to deal with. The only difference really is our guests live here. The big difference for me now is I have what they call ‘normal’ work hours, which is taking a bit of getting used to. Being able to spend more time with my children is priceless.
■ Do you change the Gracelands menu very often?
Yes, the menu changes seasonally. Oceania runs a national menu so all facilities deliver the same nutritionally balanced meals every day.
■ What is the process of being in the Senior Lifestyle Cuisine competition?
We have 75 minutes to prepare and plate two different main courses, four of each dish. We are judged on prep, taste and presentation.
■ What did you know about the competition before entering?
I was unaware of the Senior Lifestyle Cuisine competition before joining Oceania. I’m looking forward to it—it should be fun.
■ What are the different category awards?
Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to entrants depending on their final score.
■ Are you trying out different dishes on the residents leading up to the competition?
I will definitely be giving them a taste of my dishes to see if they like them. I know they will give me honest feedback.
■ I hear Oceania healthcare chefs have won this award for the past three years — do you feel the pressure?
Oceania have always done well in this competition. The pressure is definitely on!
■ How are you preparing?
Practice, practice, practice! Working on timing is crucial as we only have 75 minutes to prepare and serve.
Find out more about Gracelands Rest Home