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Behind the Scenes in the Kitchen

A Food Service Worker at Hogarth Riverview Manor prepares portions of modified texture lunch items.
A Food Service Worker at Hogarth Riverview Manor
prepares portions of modified texture lunch items.

Date: 2020-07-22

At Hogarth Riverview Manor, food service professionals prepare and deliver nearly 2,000 meals every day

A lot is happening in the kitchen at Hogarth Riverview Manor (HRM). A food service worker is patting graham cracker crusts into half a dozen oversized pans in preparation for a cheesecake dessert, and two big pots of chicken-leek soup simmer on the stove nearby. Other employees are loading carts with sandwiches for lunch, while another worker scoops freshly pureed portions into containers for residents who require a modified texture diet.

At another station, salad prep is underway, and at the next counter, snacks are being prepped and labelled. There’s a massive oven complete with multiple trays that can roast, bake or steam food, an oversized mixer for preparing anything from mashed potatoes to mousse, several large pots, a pantry lined with dry goods, a walk-in freezer and three walk-in fridges. In one corner, the twice-daily quality assurance “huddle” is underway, where food service workers meet with a supervisor before meals are served.

It’s busy yet calm and organized. “Everyone is very professional and proud of their jobs,” says Blair Manion, Production Chef at HRM. Judy Pedron, HRM Food Services Manager, agrees, “We are part of a big team. We are here for our residents - to make sure their nutritional needs are met, and also to make sure they look forward to and enjoy their meals.”

Residents are shown their meal options on a tablet. Staff input the meal choices at the table.
Residents are shown their meal options on a tablet.
Staff input the meal choices at the table.

Manion is a Red Seal Chef who oversees production, plans meals with Pedron according to Canada’s Food Guide, and tastes a sample of each meal the cooks prepare. As part of a new program called “Touch the Table,” he sits down with one resident after every meal to have a chat about the quality of food and meal service.

Once a month, residents on the Resident Food Committee, representing all home areas of HRM, meet to discuss and provide feedback on food and menu changes. Four supervisors are involved in regular audits; checking, for example, that food temperature, texture, portion size, and serving utensil use are all correct, explains Sandy Boyes, a Food Services Supervisor. Food service manager, and supervisors participate in an initial and annual “care conference” for each resident, where health care professionals such as physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, and registered dietitians review each resident’s plan of care.

In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, residents of HRM enjoy snacks three times a day. Meal choices are varied to try to suit all tastes. Red lentil soup and crackers, ravioli in a rosé sauce, roast beef with mashed potatoes, green beans, and spiced beets, zesty orange fish, and lemon meringue pie were choices on a recent daily menu.

On each resident home area at HRM, a variety of health care professionals, including dietary aides, registered practical nurses, personal support workers, and resident home workers work together to deliver meals and assist residents with eating in the dining area. “I love my job. I enjoy spending time with the residents and ensuring meal service runs correctly," says Amber Kruzel, Food Service Worker.

The tablet information is sent to the servery where each resident's plate is prepared as per their preference and in accordance with their care plan.
The tablet information is sent to the servery where
each resident's plate is prepared as per their preference
and in accordance with their care plan.

Over the past few months, HRM has incorporated new technology to enhance resident safety, improve accuracy, and reduce food waste. One recent update is that at lunch and dinner, residents now choose and order what they would like to eat from two hot meal options shown to them on a computer tablet. In the past, actual "show plates" of food were used, which would then result in tremendous food waste. Another significant benefit of using the tablet is that it is digitally linked to the resident’s care plan. This means that potential issues with a resident's meal choice, for example, if they on a therapeutic diet, are flagged right away, explains Pedron. At the end of each meal, food service workers remove the dishes and record on a chart if the resident has finished their food or left a fair bit behind. This record helps to tracks changes in appetite that can alert health care providers to potential health issues.

“This is a people-based operation, so communication and connection are important,” says Jay Nair, Director of Nutrition & Food Services. Pedron adds, “Our goal is to make the residents happy and make their dining experiences pleasurable. Meal times are a great way to connect, socialize, and add enjoyment to life.”

Touch the Table and the Resident Food Committee are temporarily on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These initiatives will resume once it is safe to do so.

 

       
       
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