LTC system highlights culinary focus with competition

Oct. 30—For the second year, the 40-facility, 10,000-resident Benedictine Health System (BHS) held its annual Taste of Benedictine Health System. During the event, dietary staff from the system’s facilities competed in a culinary competition.

Twenty-two different appetizers and desserts, which are frequently menued in the system’s nursing homes, were judged for quality, taste and food presentation. The winners were: St. Isidore Health Center of Greenwood Prairie in Plainview, Minn., won first prize for its spicy bacon wrapped shrimp; St. Michael’s Health & Rehabilitation Center in Virginia, Minn., won second place for its Hammies—a ham and Swiss cheese baked sandwich; and St. Anne of Winona in Minnesota won third place with its easy tiramisu.

The event started as a way to increase resident and family satisfaction scores, according to Rich Daehn, food and nutrition consultant for BHS System. “We created three focus groups: one for satisfaction, one for service and hospitality and one for dining,” Daehn said. “Those focus groups worked on ways of increasing resident satisfaction. At this year’s Taste of Benedictine, we announced we were changing the name of our foodservice department to culinary services as a way of setting a new standard and putting our name in the direction we want to go with our meals and moving away from the stereotypical long-term care foodservice.”

Daehn said the goal to raise satisfaction has worked. “Last year we raised resident satisfaction by 10%. Eighty-eight percent of our residents say that the taste of our meals is excellent. The whole new mindset and focus on hospitality and a culinary feel for all of our facilities has really helped.”

That mindset includes changing menus to incorporate more variety, changing service styles, upgrading dining room appearances, culinary training for cooking staff and specialized training for hospitality and line staff.

Daehn added that the transition to a more culinary-focused department also was achieved by partnering with manufacturers. “This spring all of the culinary directors went to General Mills and worked alongside their chefs at the world center in Minneapolis,” he said. “They worked on different ways to prepare General Mills products to raise resident satisfaction.”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

FSD Resources