For so many of us, our daily lives revolve around food – we wake up thinking about what we’re going to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner to help us through the day and give us something to look forward to. At Borough Care, we know that this is also the case for a huge number of our residents, who love to eat and who want to make sure they eat well.
We are firm believers that meals don’t need to be boring, and we’re passionate about ensuring that our residents leave each and every mealtime feeling satisfied.
Mark Dale, our Catering & Hospitality Manager is the driving force behind creating exciting and nutritious menus for our residents each and every day, as well as frequently curating special meals for events and festivities.
We spoke to Mark about his role, and why providing quality, enjoyable meals at Borough Care is so important.
What does a day in your job look like?
Every day is different which is great, I am involved in many things from training our new Catering Crew Members into their roles, to working closely with suppliers, creating new and exciting menus, holding taster sessions with residents, and asking for feedback on how we’re doing, being aware of new technologies and creating a better working atmosphere for our Catering Crew Members. I also look at mobilising new sites and planning for the future. It’s really important for me that I’m visible to all my team and have the opportunity to work with them all and be able to make positive changes together.
How do you plan the meals for the residents?
We have regular meetings with all our Catering Crew Members at all sites and ask for feedback and updates on how the food is being received. We also have taster sessions at the homes and fill in questionnaires from staff, residents and family members and produce infographics, which help us plan the most popular dishes. I also have two Catering Team Managers who are amazing and work in the kitchens covering for staff when they are on leave, so they have a wealth of knowledge on residents’ likes and dislikes.
Why is it so important to you that residents are well fed?
Nutrition is so important for our residents and we take this seriously at Borough Care. We check all our food for nutritional content and make sure our offerings are what our residents firstly enjoy but also need. We also love to see empty plates and full stomachs. We cater for people who have difficulties with eating choices, and can tailor-make bespoke food diaries as and when needed, whether this is texture modified foods, intolerances, or cultural requirements.
Do residents ever make any special food requests?
We have lots going on in all our homes, from birthday parties, to a wide range of events we hold throughout the year such as Christmas parties, St Patrick’s Day, Easter celebrations, and we have just celebrated LBGQ+ History Month, to name a few. We always listen to our residents and family members and are constantly trying to improve our service and it’s important to us that we celebrate the things they care about.
How do you work with Apetito?
We work closely with our partners Apetito, and have a great working relationship. We have worked on product developments in the past on new innovations for our residents and this is ongoing with some more new development ideas coming shortly.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
It’s exciting to know that you can make changes which benefit so many of our wonderful residents’ day to day life and improve their wellbeing, just by taking time to listen. In turn this helps families to know their loved ones are well looked after by our dedicated team at Borough Care.
I love looking at what we have achieved and what we can still achieve if we all work together and have a can-do mantra. Learning from others is key and being able to change freely, understanding that what worked then may not work now.