A passionate belief that food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and one everyone deserves to enjoy has led to national recognition of a Brightwater chef by acclaimed aged-care food champion Maggie Beer.
Priscilla Bourne, who has helped spearhead a new approach to food at Brightwater’s Ellison House facility, was the only West Australian to be awarded a full scholarship to attend a pioneering education program hosted by the Maggie Beer Foundation in South Australia. The program was focused on improving food in specialised care environments.
With a background in fine dining, the need to ensure the meals she prepares are full of flavour and aesthetically interesting has never been a question for Priscilla, who is responsible for providing nutritious and appropriate food for 12 residents, all of whom have difficulties swallowing.
“We want to remove the current stigma about modified texture and soft food in care homes not fulfilling real needs. We want to exceed their current expectations,” the chef wrote in her application.
The 45 year-old, who describes herself as having an ingrained desire to keep learning and challenging herself, was one of 30 chefs and cooks to participate in the ‘Creating an Appetite for Life’ program, and among a handful awarded the fully paid scholarship to attend.
Priscilla and her peers, under the instruction of industry experts, covered a range of topics including the integration of horticultural therapy in meal preparation, the potential of texture-modified food and how to become an agent of change in an organisation.
Since joining Brightwater earlier this year, Priscilla has worked alongside management to test the feasibility of increasing on-site meal preparation, particularly in relation to specialised diets.
Brightwater CEO, Jennifer Lawrence, expressed her support of Priscilla’s work.
“We have long understood the power that food holds over all of us – and are delighted that Priscilla’s enthusiasm and passion for serving up delicious texture modified meals using fresh ingredients has been recognised in such a way,” said Ms Lawrence.
“We’re now working with Priscilla to ensure that her experiences and ideas can be further integrated into Ellison House operations – and also, whether there’s potential to use them at some of our other facilities."
Brightwater’s commitment to making food interesting for people on special diets is longstanding, with Brightwater having published its own cookbook Simple Sensational Soft in 2014. It was designed to provide variety and interest for people requiring a soft food diet such as individuals with Huntington’s Disease and dementia.