Doutta GallaNews – Chef James Gets a Taste for Serving Up Aged Care Cuisine

Chef James Gets a Taste for Serving Up Aged Care Cuisine

July 11, 2024

Chef James in the garden

At Doutta Galla Aged Care’s Avondale Heights Home, Chef James Erskine-Nartey brings nearly two decades of culinary expertise to the table. With a background spanning the vibrant restaurants of England to the bustling kitchens of corporate caterer BaxterStorey, James’s journey is one of passion and adaptability. Now, in service of aged care cuisine, he crafts menus tailored to the needs and preferences of the elderly residents.

Mastering IDDSI Standards for Aged Care

One of the pivotal aspects of James’s culinary approach in aged care revolves around IDDSI, or the International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative. This framework categorises food and drink textures into different levels, ensuring safety and ease of eating for individuals with dysphagia, a swallowing disorder common among the elderly. From easy-to-chew to pureed options, James navigates these levels to ensure each meal is not only delicious, but also accessible.

Resident Engagement in Menu Choices

Mindful of resident satisfaction, James supports a bi-monthly Food Focus Group where residents actively participate in shaping the menu. “It’s just time to talk and tell us if they’re happy with the food or not,” he explains. This collaborative approach ensures that resident preferences are at the forefront of menu planning, fostering a sense of community and inclusivity within the dining experience. “So far, I’ve been hitting the mark with everyone’s tastes.” he notes, balancing the flavours of both Greek and Italian cuisines which reflect the cultural make-up of the home. When it comes to crowd favorites, James notes a penchant for pastas among the residents. “It’s funny, I come from an Italian background, so I’m trying to get to know all the taste there myself and share it in my cooking.”

Fresh Produce at Avondale Heights

Beyond the kitchen, James is passionate about fresh produce, evident in his initiative to cultivate herb and vegetable gardens within the facility with resident Alfred. “We’re trying to get something fresh so we can use that in the Home,” he explains, highlighting a commitment to quality and sustainability.

Outside of work, James’s culinary interests extend to grilling and smoking meats, although the constraints of the aged care setting limit these options. Nonetheless, his creativity and adaptability shine through as he continues to plan nourishing meals that bring joy to the residents of Doutta Galla Avondale Heights. “There’ll be a new menu coming out end of this month” he says. “I’ve listened to all the residents, what they said, and hopefully we can hit it off.”

Book a tour at
Chef James Gets a Taste for Serving Up Aged Care Cuisine

Book a private inspection for Chef James Gets a Taste for Serving Up Aged Care Cuisine

Make a Respite Enquiry

Skip to content