Schwartz September 2019
Care UK - Cleve's Place - Med Res- Take Stock Magazine

In the Spotlight: Care Home Catering

Cleves Place, in Haverhill, Suffolk is an award-winning care home. It has won Care UK’s dementia care award three years in a row and last year scooped a chef apprentice of the year award. This year, it received an Outstanding rating by The Care Quality Commission – an award achieved by less than 2% of care homes – with particular praise awarded to the kitchen team for its commitment to serving delicious and nutritious food. Take Stock spoke to head chef Richard Baker and second chef Stephanie Henson who head up the catering team to find out more…

Cleves Place is a two-storey building divided into four units, each of which has a dining area and sitting room. The home also has a day centre that supports people in the local community living with dementia – it even has a pub!

“Cleves Place is the residents’ home and each day we have the privilege of coming in and working here; they are front and centre of all we do, and if there is anything we can do to make their lives more fulfilling, happier and healthier we will do it, whatever it takes,” says Richard.

Heading up the catering team of five, Richard has been at Cleves Place since December 2016. He and Stephanie are passionate about the meals they serve to the 60 residents and their visitors.

“Food choice is so much more than nutrition,” adds Richard. “Diet supports the physical and emotional wellbeing of our residents, so it’s paramount that we get it right.” Breakfast begins at 8am. A full English is very popular, especially with tinned tomatoes because they are softer and skinless so easier for the residents to eat. And the cereal is always presented on the table in its box.

“For people living with dementia, traditional, well-known brands such as Quaker Oats, Ready Brek and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes helps to trigger memories from their childhood, and in return stimulates conversation and their appetite,” explains Richard.Lunch begins at 12:45pm and consists of soups, salads and rolls, with a selection of hot dishes.

“Chorizo risotto and chow mein are very popular, however, we always have an English classic too, such as steak and ale pudding or a pie,” says Richard. “And we always follow with a light dessert such as homemade cherry cheesecake.”

Teatime is at 5.30pm and tends to be a lighter meal with a more substantial dessert. Egg, bacon and hash browns are popular, as is chicken, salads and potato wedges, followed by traditional pudding such as crumbles and custard and apple pie and ice cream.

Each day Stephanie bakes a batch of tasty treats for those residents who prefer to snack throughout the day rather than eat a big meal. This is also important for those residents who are living with dementia and feel uncomfortable dining with others, so instead eat on the go.

Richard and Stephanie put special thought and care into the food they produce for residents living with dementia, as well as dysphagia and Parkinson’s, and believe in continuous training.“We take particular care to make sure there is dignity in dining,” adds Stephanie. “We don’t want any residents to feel alienated at mealtimes.”

A board in the kitchen also has every residents’ dietary needs clearly shown, so the chefs know what each resident can and can’t eat.

“We always make extra effort to adapt a recipe so it is still as tasty and nutritious for those residents with a dietary requirements,” says Stephanie. “Plus, we relish the challenge!”

Richard and Stephanie do a post-meal walk to each dining room to gain feedback, and allow the residents to air any special requests. It’s this type of commitment and passion given to the meals that has made the team award-winning.

“This is the residents’ home and their views are paramount. If they want something, and it is medically ok for them to have it, then they should have it,” says Richard.

Seasonal events are a big thing. The home celebrated this year’s royal wedding with a party, serving traditional buffet-style dishes that would have been served on the residents’ own wedding days!

And Christmas begins early in December with residents helping to make decorations and enjoying festive trips out of the home.

“We serve a special Christmas Eve dinner such as Beef Wellington and our Christmas Day menu is prawn cocktail then turkey with all the trimmings; enjoyed by residents and their families,” says Richard. “Last year, we turned the coffee shop into a restaurant, it was magical – exhausting, but worth every moment.”

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