kitchen staff preparing food

Did you know… our eyes are one of the most important parts of tasting food and whether we want to eat?

Research suggests our eyes very much lead the way and then our tongues will follow. In fact, it’s a well-known phrase amongst chefs that, ‘You eat with your eyes’. And of course it makes sense, if what’s set before us looks colourful, well-presented, and even, simply, what we expect to see, we’ll all be more eager to eat.

Balhousie Group Hospitality Manager, Gordon Nimmo, has set out working with our kitchen staff to make the most of texture and colour to create mini masterpieces on a plate, so our residents can visually ‘taste the food’.

Balhousie chefs and kitchen staff are currently training on texture modified meals – mashed or pureed food – in accordance with IDDSI guidelines

International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative is a global standard for texture modified foods used for those with dysphagia, or swallowing difficulties. And we’re always keen to promote the training and skill sets of our teams. IDDSI food levels 3-7 are being taught, with special attention to level 4 – meal presentation. Chefs from Balhousie Coupar Angus and Balhousie Monkbarns, Arbroath, the first to attend training at Balhousie St. Ronan’s in Dundee. Courses will be rolled out to all our Balhousie Care settings. Some of the meals created by St Ronan’s chef, Daniel, our Development Chef, and the team include Level 4 Sausage and Mash, Fish and Chips, Tuna Mayo Baguette and Vanilla Sponge with Custard.

The drive for all our kitchen staff is to maintain dignity whilst dining for our residents

Texture modified food can be shaped to appear like its original form, to take away the appearance of ‘baby food’, and any feeling of exclusion at meal times. It also means our residents are more encouraged to eat, especially when eating with their friends and family. Meals are also fortified for those who need extra calories, and most importantly, food is prepared safely for those residents who have been diagnosed with dysphagia.

Gordon told us, “Everything on our menus can be IDDSI texture modified, all it takes is imagination and our desire to produce the best food possible for all our residents. This training is invaluable for all Balhousie chefs and kitchen staff to make sure all meals are produced safely, nutritionally balanced, tasty and appealing for all.”

Feedback from staff who have attended the sessions so far, has been very positive

They’ve found the training informative and well-presented. And Daniel, who has been instrumental in providing the sessions with the latest accurate information, is impressed with all the standards and presentations.