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Elior UK gives Beyond Food apprentices a taste of Texture Modified Food

Apprentices from Beyond Food enjoyed a masterclass in dysphagia and Texture Modified Food from Elior UK as part of their training.

Beyond Food is a charity that helps those affected by homelessness gain meaningful employment. Three apprentices joined Elior’s chef Kelly Gavriliuc and menu development manager Stefan Harris for an in depth session designed to help show how care catering can offer a rewarding career.

The day kicked off with a classroom session on dysphagia and why patients need special diets, before Kelly talked the apprentices through the different ways to make texture modified food look and taste great.

Kelly Gavriliuc says: “You eat so much with your eyes and what you feel about a dish is pre-determined in the first few seconds. Residents with dysphagia deserve the best and there are so many simple ways to create visually appealing dishes. You just need a bit of imagination.

“It’s a real passion of mine, I could do it all day long. Knowing this makes a difference to residents’ lives gives me massive satisfaction when the meals go out. When I see a smile on their face and there’s no weight loss, it’s job done. It’s been great to pass on some of that knowledge and to have inspired a new generation of chefs.”

During the day, the apprentices learned some tricks of the trade: how to make hydrating jelly desserts; the best ways to pipe and shape foods; how to make the plate look appealing and the foods as realistic as possible; and the best way to keep flavour in the dishes.

Stephen Carolan, apprentice, Beyond Food, said: “There’s a lot of care and work that goes into creating texture modified food. I never thought about cooking in a care home until today. But now I’ve seen food like this, it’s exciting and something I’d love to try.”

Simon Boyle, chef founder, Beyond Food say: “The apprentices are on a two-year training course spending their first year working in the professional kitchen at Brigade – our partner bar and kitchen in London Bridge, followed by a year on a supported work placement with one of our employer partners.

“This week has been all about getting them work ready and building their confidence. We’re keen to expose the team to different experiences and show the hospitality industry isn’t just about restaurants and hotels. Today has expanded their minds and shown how with some passion and imagination, care catering can be exciting and fulfilling. Many of the apprentices have needed a lot of support in the past, so it’s rewarding for them to work in an industry where they can give back.”

Elior has been recently been recognised for its innovative approach to Texture Modified Food by the Alzheimer’s Society in being shortlisted in the Trailblazer of the Year category at the Dementia Friendly Awards. Earlier this year, Kelly Gavriliuc won the Best Care Home Chef Mentor Award for her passionate work in the care sector developing the standards and training around Texture Modified Foods.