Aged care chefs compete and champion texture-modified foods

Last updated on 14 February 2024

Chefs Suraj Pradhan, Michael Orchard and Tanka Rana in order of left to right. [Source: Supplied]

For a long time the food being served in aged care facilities has come in for a lot of criticism but to keep its chefs on their toes and showcase their talents, Uniting NSW.ACT held its annual cooking competition and the results would fit right in at a top restaurant. 

Held across its 35 in-house catered aged care facilities, chefs battle it out plating up the best mains, desserts and texture-modified foods.

The food competition saw 30 Uniting chefs put their best plates forward and the winners included: Suraj Pradhan (Uniting Bankstown), Michael Orchard (Uniting Annesley), Tanka Rana (Uniting Banks Lodge) and Raj Katuwal (Uniting Berry), winning a $50 gift voucher.

Tanka told hello leaders that cooking quality food for residents gives him great pride and gratitude. 

“I was so excited and proud to be recognised for the effort I put in to make their dining experience as special as possible every day,” said Tanka.

“I wanted to work in aged care and cook for elderly people because it makes me so happy to see how much they appreciate good food and I love the feedback and interaction I have with all of the residents at meal times.”

With up to 50% of people in aged care living with dysphagia, using texture-modified foods is essential for residents who have swallowing difficulties and a key part of the competition was to encourage creativity and experimentation and explore ways to make these foods more enticing and palatable.

Uniting Hotel Services Specialist, Brendon Gakowski, said in the past the kinds of meals prepared for people with dysphagia were very limited and unappealing, reducing meal-time-related quality of life for people who need these foods to survive.

A winning main course and texture-modified option. [Source: Supplied]

“The talent of our chefs is just incredible, and I was particularly blown away by the exquisite mains and desserts they produced from texture-modified foods, which is not easy from a presentation point of view.”

“At Uniting we’re committed to improving the resident’s experience and enjoyment of their food, no matter what their health issues, as we believe food enjoyment contributes not only to mental wellbeing but also helps with physical nutrition.”

Uniting has also teamed up with The Pure Food Co, an award-winning business focused purely on producing the best quality texture-modified food in collaboration with chefs, dieticians and speech therapists. The Pure Food Co supplied the gift vouchers to winners. 

To learn more about their products please visit The Pure Food Co or contact them on 1300 942 242; [email protected]

aged care
aged care workforce
aged care sector
education and training
aged care providers