‘Jamie Oliver’ food campaign unnecessary in our retirement care homes

Blog posted

28th February 2014

I found myself getting a little hot under the collar when I read about the initiative being introduced by a Bristol care home charity to improve standard of meals within care homes by launching a ‘Jamie Oliver’ style campaign.

Although the article in the local evening paper does point out that not all care homes serve below par food, this is exactly what this campaign implies and I find that very unfair.

We work in the private retirement sector and retirement care homes come in all shapes and sizes, some private some public, and it is impossible to compare one alongside the other, or equally, tar them all with the same brush, which I have to say is a regular occurrence. 

Good quality, freshly-cooked and prepared food is a standard prerequisite in all retirement care homes and to provide anything less is not acceptable.

Every resident, whatever their situation and individual needs, requires a balanced diet. It is an essential part of their well being.

Our chefs and their staff teams take a pride in producing the best for our residents. To infer that our kitchens are the same as the school canteens that Jamie Oliver whipped into shape for the purposes of a TV programme is an inaccurate and unfair comparison.

The news article says Milestones Trust is “launching an ambitious campaign to revolutionise the quality of food served to people in Britain’s care homes”. 

It says patients should be treated to ‘home-made beef pasty with locally grown vegetables on the side”. Surely this type of meal is already part and parcel of a weekly menu plan.

Fresh, locally-sourced food is the order of the day at our villages. So while I applaud the charity’s general attempt to raise awareness and standards I think it needs to be careful not to label all care providers, whether in the retirement or any other sector, as an average, or below’ average meal provider. That’s unfair and inaccurate and in no way reflects our proposition at Retirement Villages.

Paul Walsh