30 June 2023
Estia Health Chef Masterclasses
“Further education can create a positive workplace culture, encourage professional development and increase profits. Additionally, it provides employees with essential skills that can be used throughout their careers. Employees with access to further education opportunities are more likely to be engaged in their work and feel valued by their employers”
Business Review 2022.
At Estia Health, we value our employees and our Chefs are a vital part of our family ensuring that our residents receive healthy, tasty, nutritious meals based upon sound advice from our nutritionists. It is important for them to keep regularly up to date with new food and kitchen safety standards, staff management, leadership, aged care quality standards and new cooking methods.
With that in mind, we hold Masterclasses for our Chefs across all four (4) states twice a year for two (2) days at a time. As an industry leader, we are very proud of our Masterclasses and not only does our Head of Hospitality teach during these classes, we also bring in leading experts within their fields to provide demonstrations and share their knowledge with our teams.
So what is involved? Running a kitchen is a complex and involved process, it involves planning menus that are balanced and nutritious as well as ensuring that we feed our residents food that is enjoyable and delicious. So our Chefs go through new menus and learn all about new ingredients that we are offering as well as where our food is sourced from. Plus new techniques and it wouldn’t be complete without a mystery box challenge at the end of each day.
And we cannot forget the presentation of our food. With the introduction of our new resident family communications app, EstiaConnect we regularly send photos to our residents’ families to show them what their loved ones are eating. So it’s very important that our food is shown in the best light possible.
So let’s hear from those that were on the course:
What do you like about the Masterclass course?
“Masterclass is always a time to catch up with other chefs and other members of the Estia Health Family. I like that we have the opportunity to meet people that we can learn from as l believe we can never stop learning and sharing our skills to improve what we deliver to our residents.”
What new techniques have you learnt?
“During this Masterclass l learnt how to take better photos than l was taking before, it’s so disappointing to make a beautiful meal for our residents then take a photo and it looks nothing like what has been prepared. Either half the meal/dish is missing from the photo or there’s obstacles in the photo that totally spoils the outcome of the photo. I can’t wait to share with my kitchen team the skills l learnt witness taking better photos so the photos will do the meal that’s been prepared justice.
I also learnt skills in preparing and cutting the wonderful Macka Beef that we are privileged to have to serve to our residents. Having Justin Wilshaw and Nathan Griffiths our Heads of Hospitality and the guest chefs show us how to prepare dishes and give us tips on presentation was a very valuable opportunity during this Masterclass”.
How have the classes improved your practice?
“Everything that we can learn to help in delivering the very best to our residents at Estia Health, is something we can pass onto the staff we work with every day.
I have always believed that a resident should be treated with the upmost care and with dignity and the things l have come away with from this Masterclass, l can share with staff to ensure we are all delivering the best to our residents everyday whether l am there or not. They are skills that ensure the residents at Estia Health Aged Care homes throughout Australia are getting the highest standard there is.”
What did you find to be most informative?
“When l started cooking in aged care 29 and half years ago there were no Masterclasses or anything that assisted chefs /cooks with bettering their skills (aged care). For anyone coming into the industry, Masterclasses are a valuable way of developing and improving their skills. I’m not sure if other aged care organisations do these Masterclasses, but as an employee of Estia Health we are very lucky to have the opportunity of attending them.
Everything that l learnt at Masterclass this week all ties nicely together. From learning how to cook beautiful fish, chicken, beef, side dishes and desserts, to taking outstanding photos of the finished meal. We all eat with our eyes and that includes our residents, when a meal is served to them it should look delicious and look good enough to be in a food magazine. Learning to take better photos of the finished meal is something l have wanted to do for a long time now so l found this exceptionally helpful.
Further quotes from other participants:
“My background is classical fine dining making it from scratch, I have learnt more about great short cuts that I can use and quality driven products from our preferred suppliers. Learning about the providence of the producers like Mackas Australian Black Angus Beef, who supply all of our homes. I don’t think you’d find too many companies like Estia Health that would bring in companies like Mackas. It has created such a sense of pride when you are now using that meat and preparing it for the resident. We can go to the resident and explain about the product we are using”.
“By attending Masterclasses, we are continually able to innovate within the kitchens for the betterment of the residents dining experience”.
“Being able to meet the other Chefs and our Head of Hospitality gives great insight into the trends at other homes. To be able to work as a collective is insightful and helpful in applying practical knowledge to the daily operations of the home”.
“What is so different about Estia Health is the continual improvement through our Masterclasses. Plus you get to work 9-5 and have ongoing training with highly accessible support, industry leading ingredients and budget. These are the things that make the job great. It’s a great lifestyle change, the opportunity to be creative with your food within the parameters of health and working for an industry leader.”
Enormous thanks to all the Chefs from our homes in Victoria, who participated in our most recent Masterclass. Additionally, we need to thank the William Angliss Institute for hosting the event and providing us with outstanding kitchens to work within, Unilever Food Solutions and their staff for providing expert tuition and guidance for our Chefs and Mackas Black Angus Beef Australia for an in depth explanation on their dedication to providing the highest quality Angus cattle using the latest genetics. Coupled with a sustainable model of farming and best practices to ensure that healthy, happy cattle are produced in a carbon-neutral environment.