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Improving the Dining Experience at Victoria House

18 March 2022

Blog Victoria House

At Renovo Care, we know that ensuring the people we support to have a nutritious and well-balanced diet is a crucial part of our roles. For our residents, the food and drink that they consume has a direct correlation to their health, wellbeing, recovery and fundamentally their quality of life. Our Catering Staff are highly qualified, skilled and motivated to deliver delicious, homecooked meals meeting a variety of dietary requirements on a daily basis.

In this blog, we hear from Gavin Cheeseman, our Victoria House Residential Service chef who has recently overhauled the dining experience they offer to their residents.

“Each month at Victoria House we hold a residents meeting where people can express any improvements they feel could be made in the home. At a recent meeting, it was put forward that the dining room didn’t feel homely to our residents, and people also wanted to be more independent. I listened to how our residents wanted things to change and to the ideas they had. Supported by our activities coordinator Aimee, deputy manager Kelly and myself, the residents came up with a plan.

Firstly, we made some changes to the layout of the dining room – our residents wanted the tables to be set out as they might be in a café or hotel which they say ‘makes them feel special’. 

Secondly, we looked at the menu. Our residents wanted to see more hot options at lunch and evening meal times and were keen to incorporate more seasonal changes. With this in mind, I redesigned the menu plans ensuring balanced options were presented and that meals could be adapted to dietary needs. I shared this with the residents to get their thoughts and they were very happy with the changes proposed.

Thirdly, we wanted to introduce more opportunities for residents to increase their independence and skills. We agreed that the kitchen team would still prepare the main choices each day as we need to ensure modified diets are safely managed but we invested in:

  • A breakfast bar
  • A panini and omelette station
  • A snack station
  • A hydration station

These new additions mean residents can prepare and cook light meals, drinks and snacks with the support of staff or entirely independently and increases their choice options for meals and drinks. If someone does not want any of the main choices, we provide ingredients for them to cook something of their choosing and provide support as needed. It means they can make a drink or offer a snack to their guests and each other which has created a lovely atmosphere in the home.

We also set up a buffet service area for main meals prepared in the kitchen which allows the residents to visually see the options for each meal and to serve themselves.

I have heard people say positive things such as:

‘We love the new dining experience – designed by us [residents] for us!’

‘We all eat together – staff and residents- and it feels like a family now’

‘It’s great that residents have a more flexible approach to meals – being able to prepare their own breakfast for example is a really positive step’

‘The hydration station is topped up regularly giving residents an ample choice to hydrate and as a treat every Friday we offer a selection of fizzy drinks

‘It’s great that we all work together to keep our dining room clean, tidy and stocked’

I have really enjoyed working on this project with the residents and it has been amazing to see their eagerness to get involved and their skills increasing.”

Gavin Cheeseman – Chef at Victoria House