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

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources