Since it’s conception in 2014, the program has travelled across Australia to Sydney, Melbourne, Northern NSW and of course Maggie’s home in the Barossa, where it aims to provide hands-on education in the kitchen as well as hopes to inspire change within the industry.
Now, the program, which is open to just 30 chefs and cooks, is returning to where it all began to provide a new learning and networking opportunity – an aspect of the program that Maggie says means the most to her.
“This program is something that I really enjoy taking across the country – it’s important,” she says.
“For me, it is really vital to give those working as a chef or cook in the busy aged care industry information as well as motivation and a pat on the back for the wonderful work that they do.”
As part of the education component for the program, leading experts join Maggie for presentations, including HammondCare’s Executive Chef Peter Morgan-Jones.
“I’ve been a part of all Maggie’s programs and the most important aspect to them is to inspire the chefs and cooks and let them know that they are doing a great job,” he says.
“The programs have all been wonderful and Maggie always finds great speakers who are there to offer some information and give them ideas on how they can go back and make positive changes.
“For me, I take along my books that contain information on modified meals and useful strategies for meal times because most chefs and cooks in the industry do cook for people living with dementia.
“I really look forward to being part of the program and sharing all that we do and I have never seen anyone leave without a smile which is just amazing to witness.”
Some of the other topics covered in the program include: nutritious ingredients, food budgeting, supplier relationships, aged care specific recipes, menus and dining room management.
As well as inviting and engaging with chefs and cooks in the industry, the program will also welcome company Chief Executive Officers (CEO’s) and managers to attend a special workshop.
“Working towards positive change in the industry, it is always great to work with those at the grass-roots of the cause like the chefs and cooks but you do need to get the CEO’s and Managers on board to implement the change because you do need their support,” Maggie says.
“The whole aim for me is to just do better; to give everyone in aged care a beautiful meal every day that is full of the right nutrition.
“The pleasure it gives and the energy it provides for people to be physically involved in life can be amazing and it can give them something to really look forward to – meal time is such an important part of their day and wellbeing.”
As well as providing an opportunity for professional growth and development for chefs and cooks within the aged care industry, ‘Creating an Appetite for Life’ also has an impact on personal growth and development.
“Through the few days we spend together, we see some amazing transformations,” Ms Beer says.
“The chefs and cooks become confident and proud of what they do and they leave with a strong network of others doing what they do who are there to support each other.
“This program is something I am just so proud of – you can see the change happening in people.
“I love getting to know all of the chefs and cooks and what we learn from each other. I love showing them the difference they can make to the lives of the people they are looking after as well as being there to help find the solutions they are looking for and to lead them on a path to make things better.”
As part of the program, which will run from August 20-23, the Maggie Beer Foundation is offering a number of fully paid scholarships with the support of the IOOF Foundation.