Kitchen’s tender, loving care

William with a few samples of kitchen staples at Regency Park. textured food is shaped to present as "real" as possible.

By Jeremy Sollars

All of the facilities at Regency Park’s new aged care accommodation are state of the art – including the kitchen.

The $36.1 million expansion of the Churches of Christ site in Warwick’s west was completed in recent months and new aged care residents are progressively moving into their new home.

For those living in care meals are always one of the highlights of the day and as well as being appetising and nutritious, they also need extra special care and preparation.

William Briese is the executive chef – well, he rather modestly calls himself the ‘kitchen manager’ – for the aged care residents and he is happily settling into his new role.

While he’s used to catering for large numbers – the Jandowae-born and self-described proud “country boy” previously fed as many as 1500 in mining camps out west, along with students at Ipswich Grammar School – this is his first venture into aged care and he concedes he’s been on a bit of a learning curve.

Regency Park’s nursing home has a full capacity of 128 residents and William and his small team are passionate about delivering quality food tailored to their individual needs.

The day in the kitchen starts around 7.30am with breakfast ‘prep’ and along with lunch and dinner the menu will be regularly rotated, including seasonally every four months.

Residents are offered a variety of options for all three meals and William and the team source as many of their fresh ingredients as they can from local suppliers.

There’s also a barbecue in the main courtyard where residents and their loved ones can enjoy eating outdoors with the barbie tucker cooked up by William and his staff.

Taste and presentation are important but so is texture, with different residents requiring different levels of softness and pureeing in their meals – indeed there’s even a special ‘grading’ system in that department.

The kitchen team uses plastic moulds to shape pureed food items so they look as “natural” or “real” as possible, so residents can realistically enjoy things like cheese and crackers, mini pizzas and beef sliders, as well as fresh meat and veggies.

More than anything, William is delighted with the ultra-modern kitchen itself.

“It’s the first kitchen I’ve ever worked in where everything is brand new,” he laughed.

“It’s a long way from cooking for guys on the gas fields out of a semi-trailer.

“What we use here is a system produced by a French company called Burlodge.

“It’s used in large environments like hospitals and basically it allows us to pre-prepare meals a couple of days in advance but still keep them fresh by using blast chilling.

“The system is fully computerised and auto-programmed – to be honest it took me a couple of days to figure it all out, but once I got the hang of it it’s worked brilliantly.”