A taste of France at our care home in Swanage

Published: Tuesday 13th October 2020

Nutrition and hydration are key areas of health and wellbeing in our care homes in Swanage, across the south of England and up to Derby. Meals in our care homes are important social occasions, and we encourage our residents to eat together.

Mealtime challenges for older people living at home

If an older person is living independently in their own home and cooking meals for themselves, they can often struggle to eat a varied enough diet. It means they may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need. This can be compounded by the fact that older people tend to eat smaller portions.

Creating varied and appetising choices for our residents to eat is a crucial, yet sometimes challenging, role in our care homes. As we get older, our sense of taste and smell can change, affecting our appetite. And at dementia care homes, in Swanage and across the country, many residents may be drawn to meals they ate when they were younger, which perhaps aren’t the healthiest!

Food for thought at our care home in Swanage

When Gainsborough Care Home manager Louise van Dorn advertised for a new chef, she never imagined she’d be introducing a French chef into one of Swanage’s care homes.

Having trained and worked in a la carte kitchens in Paris, Bordeaux and the Dordogne, Jerome arrived in England and settled on the Dorset coast. He was snapped up by Louise and now creates appetising and nutritious menus for her residents that would be the envy of the other residential care homes in Swanage!

Being acutely aware of different dietary needs, Jerome caters for all the Gainsborough residents. His menu has a daily vegetarian option. And residents also now have the choice of extra freshly-prepared fortifying shakes and snacks.

Using fresh, local produce

At his previous kitchens, Jerome used fresh, local produce every day. Being in Dorset, our Swanage care home’s kitchen has the advantage of easy access to not only local fruit and vegetables, but also tasty fish and seafood. The town’s fishing fleet brings in fish including bass, mackerel and whiting, depending on the season.

Jerome truly believes that using local produce enhances the flavour of his cooking. These grey mullet were caught just off the Swanage coast. Talk about minimal food miles!

Tea-time treats

The new chef has won many hearts with his exquisite patisserie. Caramel-filled choux pastry and his coffee and chocolate cake are among the residents’ (and care team’s) favourites. The high-quality homemade food has been rewarded with residents eating well, enjoying their food and gaining weight.

One of the Gainsborough residents told us, “I have never eaten so well in my life since coming here. Simply delicious, is all I can say!”

Jerome said, “Making everything by hand is time-consuming, but the results are worth it. It’s very rewarding to see residents clearing their plates and putting on weight. I use a lot of vegetables in my dishes. My homemade tomato soup is bursting with flavour, not only tomatoes but onions, carrots and celery too.”

Jerome’s top five tips for good care home food

  1. Take pride in what you’re doing, it’s an important job at the heart of the care home.
  2. Use as much fresh and local produce as possible.
  3. Make food more flavoursome by including lots of fresh herbs and a range of spices to enhance the taste.
  4. Don’t forget the presentation, it’s as important in a care home as in a Michelen-starred restaurant. If the food looks good, it will encourage residents to tuck in.
  5. Stay in touch with the residents and care team members to hear what’s going down well and what can be improved on.

To find out more about Gainsborough Care Home in Swanage, please call us on 01929 448 996