VMCH Catering Manager Ellis Wilkinson will help bring aged care cookery to the global stage as part of international food and beverage festival, Tasting Australia, on May 4.
Ellis (pictured above left) will form part of a panel discussion ‘Creating an Appetite for Life’ in Adelaide alongside renowned chef Maggie Beer and other food experts to discuss current food challenges, trends and successes in aged care.
Ellis – who has over 20 years’ experience within the food services industry as an executive chef, head chef and within management positions for some of the world’s largest catering companies – said it was an honour to be a panel member at Tasting Australia for the second consecutive year.
“This year I’ll be talking about aged care cookery curriculum and how there needs to be more of a focus on upskilling current chefs and cooks and attracting new, younger chefs to the industry. I’ll also focus on what ingredients are being used within aged care menus and how selecting specific ingredients can have a positive effect on the daily lives of residents.”
Ellis said the ‘paddock to plate’ concept – including using food grown on-site within aged care gardens – should be encouraged, rather than relying on packet-based ingredients.
Having aged care cookery on the Tasting Australia agenda was a unique and important opportunity, he said.
“Tasting Australia attracts a global audience and has chefs, cooks, wine professionals from around the world attending. A day dedicated to aged care on the central stage gives aged care catering a great platform to continue the push for a change in perception of aged care cookery… it’s not just boring, over-cooked food!”
Ellis said it was also important to acknowledge the work of chefs within aged care, which can be a challenging industry.
“Chefs in aged care are under pressure to ensure multiple diets are catered for as per residents’ dietary plans – mistakes can obviously have a drastic affect. We need to celebrate these chefs and cooks more. Tasting Australia will help to do this.”