The culinary offering of care providers often comes in for criticism by residents, family and the media, and often rightly so. In many instances, quality simply isn't delivered and residents have little choice over what they eat.
However, there are care providers out there who offer extreme culinary perfection to their residents, to the point where they are aiming for the highly-coveted Michelin Stars! Maybe there is something we can learn from them...
Michelin Stars and how they are earned
The Michelin Guide is the oldest hotel and restaurant reference guide in Europe. The guide awards 'Michelin Stars' for excellence to a select few establishments. The term 'Michelin Star' is a hallmark of fine dining quality and restaurants around the world proudly promote their Michelin Star status. The Michelin Star criteria appear simple but hold significant prestige:
★ = Very good cooking in its category - 'quality food and consistency of offering'
★★ = Excellent cooking, worth a detour - 'demonstrates the flair, creativity, consistency and quality of individual signature'
★★★ = Exceptional cuisine, worthy of a special journey - 'represents extraordinary skill in displaying absolute mastery of classical through to modern cooking techniques'
The care homes and retirement villages going for gourmet glory
Only the most prestigious and masterful restaurants ever achieve or attempt to achieve Michelin Star ratings. With this in mind, it may surprise you that there are a number of care providers across the UK who are aiming to offer their residents a Michelin Star rated culinary experience! Let us take a look at the care homes and retirement villages aiming for gourmet glory:
Audley Retirement: St George's Place
St George's Place is an up-market retirement village in Edgbaston, Birmingham. The village is operated by Audley Retirement and was opened earlier this year following extensive renovation. Residents of the village can enjoy luxury apartment homes, a health club, extra care, a library and of course a restaurant which is also open to visitors from the surrounding area.
The restaurant, named Three Church Road, really is first class with sumptuous decor. The dining area has a deep, rich ambience and is furnished with antique dark wood tables and chairs, and warm, luxurious fabrics. The tables are dressed with quality glass and tableware for a truly opulent dining experience.
It's the food though that really makes Audley's culinary offering so special. The provider has employed former head chef at The Belfry luxury golf and spa resort, Hari Krishnamurthy, and he's set his sights high.
Residents expect a restaurant that has a modern and classical twist in taste, with time taken to ensure the highest quality food ... I want to be the first retirement restaurant to win a Michelin star
Hari Krishnamurthy - Head Chef
Breathtaking dishes are produced from the restaurant kitchen, everything is freshly made from breads to ice cream. Diners can choose from an array of exquisite starters such as pan seared scallops, pig cheek and Jerusalem artichoke, or chicken liver parfait, port wine glaze, pickled vegetable and toasted brioche. Mains include Welsh lamb rump, creamed potato, baby carrots and shallot, or perhaps you'd rather Miso Cod, clams and Asian broth. Diners can sweeten their palate with a fabulous choice of desserts including chocolate delice, cherry caramel and evaporated milk or yoghurt panna cotta and Mango sorbet.
Anchor Trust: Bishopstoke Park
Bishopstoke Park is a luxury retirement village in Eastleigh, Hampshire operated by established care provider, Anchor Trust. Stately gardens, a fitness centre, leisure spaces and care facilities ensure a dream lifestyle for the retired. The village has 220 retirement apartments and a care home which offers specialist dementia, Parkinson's and arthritis care.
One of Anchor's jewels in the Bishopstoke Park crown is the village's Redwood Bistro, an award-winning eatery offering residents with stunning food and beverages. Anchor Trust took their retirement village's culinary offering seriously right from the start, hiring a head chef with real pedigree. The head chef, Robert Quehan, worked at The Ivy and The Dorchester in London and has worked under celebrity chefs Anton Mosimann and Henry Brosi in the past.
The kitchen team at Redwood Bistro not only offer exceptional food, they tailor dishes to resident tastes and preferences. Testament to the eatery's prestige is an AA rosette, awarded in December following an unannounced inspection.
We keep notes on residents’ preferences, so if they like thin gravy or crispy roast potatoes, we’ll have that on their reservation for the chefs next time.
Katrina Lane - Service Manager
Glance at the menu and your taste buds will twitch. Residents can enjoy a vegetarian starter of tomato fondue on a puff pastry base, olive tapenade and mozzarella topping with balsamic glaze and then move on to a sumptuous main of pan-roasted local venison loin with confit potatoes, braised savoy cabbage and blackberry puree. The restaurant also has a special puree-only menu for village residents, an example dish is asparagus puree with mashed potato and pureed fish.
HCMS Care Homes
In their pursuit of Michelin Stars, care home operator HealthCare Management Solutions (HCMS) has invested in professional training for their care home chefs with culinary experts, Brake Bros.
HCMS staff are taken through a gourmet menu specially designed to encourage maximum calorie intake in the smallest portions to ensure residents are well fed. The menu and training includes pureed scones and jam, kedgeree fishcake balls, and granola and yoghurt truffles.
We hope this will be the first of many sessions we host with Brakes Bros, and that our chefs are inspired to cook up a storm.
Tony Stein - HCMS Chief Executive
Rangeford Care: Wadswick Green
Wadswick Green is a retirement village in Corsham, Wiltshire operated by Rangeford Care. Set in scenic countryside, the village is a contemporary styled, new-build development with various apartments, a spa and gym, gardens and recreational areas. The reason Wadswick Green is in my article though, is of course, a highly regarded restaurant aiming for Michelin Stars, this time named the Greenhouse Restaurant.
Both village residents and the general public can enjoy delicious seasonal menus in the Greenhouse Restaurant. The dining area is bright and cheery with a vibrant bar at the centre to ensure great atmosphere. Healthy dining is the buzzword here and the menu contains dishes such as roasted chicken breast with tomato panzanella salad and a superfood salad with quinoa, blueberries, edamame beans and feta. There’s also a healthy take on fish and chips and 'child-friendly' pizza as well as an enticing selection of desserts such as Eton mess and caramelised banana mousse.
Residents feel included in the wider community by sharing this bubbly space with local foodies and the Greenhouse also hosts exclusive events for residents such as champagne gala dinners or other thematic nights.
Chris Sherman - Village Manager
All the best...
I'm sure you will join me in wishing these care providers all the best in their pursuit of Michelin Stars. They certainly look worthy and it would be excellent for a retirement village or care home to join the select few restaurants in the UK who have managed to achieve this most prized of culinary ratings. Thanks for reading.