Care home chefs meet TV’s Ainsley Harriott

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A pair of care home chefs had the chance to meet and cook with celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott on Friday (January 18).

Mark Johnson, from Crawley, and Matthew Jones, from Horley, were at the launch of a new cookery book, produced especially for Acorn Court care home, where they both work.

They took the opportunity to prepare some of the recipes with encouragement and inspiration from small screen favourite Ainsley.

The cookery book was developed through a collaboration with Michelin star chefs from the Great British Chefs organisation and with catering experts.

Ideas were also contributed by residents and their families.

The aim of the cookery book, which contains 136 recipes, is to inspire the chefs to create high quality food and offer a high end restaurant-style experience for care home residents, making meal times a special and enjoyable social experience. Whilst retaining the emphasis on health and nutrition, the cookery book is designed to provide varied and exciting food.

Mark Johnson said: “What a fantastic day! I cooked new dishes with encouragement and advice from Ainsley – including some popular favourites and some exciting new world food ideas I’ve never attempted before. I am really excited to start offering these to my residents.”

Ainsley said: “I am very impressed with this new cookery book.

“Of course health and nutrition are absolutely essential when it comes to menus offered in care homes and all the recipes in this excellent book have been developed with that in mind.

“But it’s also so important to offer varied and exciting food and to present it well – after all we ‘eat with our eyes’ too!

“It was great to see Mark and Matthew so committed to taking on the recipes and the guidance given in this new cookery book and I wish them great joy in cooking for their residents in the future.”

A statement from the publishers said: “The 136 recipes in the cook book have been created to meet the needs of older people, blending traditional recipes known and loved with innovative meals that encourage our residents to try new dishes and experience the world of food.

“The dishes in the book have been inspired around health and nutrition, and provide chefs with the tools to be able to consider the health needs of individual residents – whether they wish to lose or gain weight or have a pureed diet.”

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