Maggie Beer with SwanCare Head Chef, Sathish Kumar
Providing aged care residents with healthy, fresh, and flavoursome meals is a passion for SwanCare Bentley Park’s head chef Sathish Kumar, and a recent visit to Maggie Beer’s Barossa Valley headquarters has given him an arsenal of inspiration.
In August, Sathish flew out from Perth to attend the Maggie Beer Foundation’s three-day Creating an Appetite for Life program, where a select number of chefs and cooks from residential aged care homes from across Australia took part in interactive program alongside Maggie and aged care industry experts.
The program is designed for chefs and cooks who are committed to ensuring that everyone residing in aged care are presented with beautiful meals, every day of the year.
Chef Sathish coordinates SwanCare’s kitchen located at Bentley Park, creating three meals a day for hundreds of residents, many with very specific dietary requirements.
“Visiting the Maggie Beer Foundation and learning from leaders in my area was equally interesting and inspirational,” Sathish said. “It has given me the confidence to really go for it in terms of adding new flavours and cuisines to the SwanCare menu, and to do so fairly easily, despite the usual time and budget pressures.
“It was also great to see that we are already on the right track, with dishes like Spanish chicken paella, slow-cooked beef and Guinness pie, and Pina colada pana cotta already on the SwanCare menu.”
During the program, Sathish participated in – and won – a MasterChef-style cooking challenge, where groups of participants vied for best three-course meal using limited ingredients.
Sathish took charge of his winning teams’ dessert, presenting roasted polenta with cinnamon and orange zest, served with toasted almond and caramelized orange to an impressed Maggie.
91-year old Irene Metcalfe, who resides at SwanCare’s Waminda Care Facility alongside her husband of 70 years, emphasises the importance of good food for aged care residents.
“For some people in care, food is the main focus of their day,” Irene said. “The meals here at SwanCare are lovely, and it shows when you notice newer residents putting on weight and feeling happy.”