At Origin, we know how important it is for the community as a whole to have quality chefs. We wanted to be able to give our Executive Chefs a place to come together and learn. This year at the Origin Chef Summit 2018, we hosted Executive Chefs from across Canada for two days of education and excitement all focused on amazing food. We had celebrity guests, members of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, Gordon Food Service Canada, and members of our very own Origin family.
One of the guests from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, The Executive Chef Director, Darren Clay, openly reflected on the changes in food quality and expectations at senior housing communities. “The level of food quality has dramatically increased, and food logistics are creating more opportunities”. Some unique traits he noted about working with Origin was that there is less stress involved for the chefs because the number of guests at an active lifestyle community is pre-determined, unlike a restaurant setting where there are customer rushes and slower times. Another note he made was that food within the community is being made entirely from scratch, just like the good old days.
These changes in the customer services levels in Seniors Housing and the particularly high standards at Origin means that we have attracted quality chefs that bring creativity and a passion for creating meals. Our chefs are able to have a well-balanced work/family life and get the joy and pride of creating a difference in the world while our community members get to benefit from their quality meals. Just like most individuals, our community members want an amazing dining experience, so we know how to plate the food for those with cognitive disabilities. For our community members with macular degeneration, we always plate the vegetables in the upper-right quadrant of the plate so they can find their food categories independently. It is little details like this that help create the unique dining experience at Origin
At Origin, where we can, we acquire fresh produce from the local Farmers Markets, and we incorporate these items them into our meals, as well as providing an option for community members to purchase extra produce. We also extended the market to families and businesses in our communities. A significant portion of our community members in our Alberta locations come from the farming community. With GFS’ Meet the Farmer Program, we have now have the opportunity for farmers to come and interact with our seniors. Whether it is afternoon coffee, taste-testing, or even having them come and explain the menus, we get to breathe life into the farm-to-table experience. This benefits our community members, local farmers, and our chefs.
Education and professional development are extremely important to Origin. We were delighted that Celebrity Chef Gabriele Berticanni of Il Tocco Food, attended our Summit and presented one the “Soul of Food.” Chef Gabriele explained his reasoning for working with food, “it is a constant journey, and it is about inspiring people who work with you… to help them understand it is much more than making a paycheck… it is about the little actions everyone takes and the long-term impact.” He also noted that he has no doubts that Origin is on the right path with passion and food responsibility. We are streamlining the path to preparing and serving not only quality food but nutrient-dense food which is vital to the well-being of older adults.
For seniors living independently, it can be a challenge to ensure your diet consists of nutrient-dense foods, which is also very important for seniors. Nutrient-dense food refers to food high in nutrients and low in caloric intake; examples of this are salmon or kale. We want our community members to come to us for the proper meals and socialization. To have the meals with the same people in the same area is so important. Our President, Neil Prashad, said that “what we as a company, and we as an industry, want to do is push the envelope beyond three squares [meals] to an experience.”
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