HAMPSHIRE care home chefs received lessons from expert chefs last week.

Courtesy of Hampshire Care Association and Harvest Fine Foods, the expert care chef Preston Walker, and chocolate master and winner of Bake Off Creme De La Crème Sam Rain taught chefs and cooks a variety of dishes in Harvest's demo kitchen in Totton.

The workshops focused on the difficulties of serving interesting and nutritious meals for residents suffering with dysphagia (swallowing difficulties), and to meet the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative, who's diet descriptions come into effect next April.

As well as helping the staff discover the new descriptions, the workshops also gave them ideas for creating quick and cost-effective meals for people with dysphagia and dementia.

One attendee of the workshop said: “I wanted to find out about what food can be pureed and still keep the nutritional content, within the meal despite the texture and want to create meals people look forward to eating three times a day. I have learnt that pureed food can be nice!”

Hampshire Care Association is a non-profit membership association run by a voluntary Executive Committee of experienced care providers. Their membership consists of residential and nursing care providers all across the county.

All the chefs were invited to taste the that had been made after the workshop, which included scones and jam which had been made into a mousse and non-alcoholic gin and tonic.

Sarah Sibley, Marketing and Events Manager at Hampshire Care Association said: "Our role as a Care Association is to represent and educate care providers across the county and one of the ways we do this is by hosting seminars and workshops. Whilst our seminars are big events that tend to cover a wide range of general care related topics, it’s also important that we put on these smaller workshops that cover more specific subjects."

She added: "Having sat through the sessions and tasted the food myself I have to say I was really surprised and impressed with how nice dysphagia friendly food can be. The scone mousse in particular was amazing! It tasted just the real thing and it’s so lovely that all residents enjoy afternoon tea, even if they have swallowing problems."

A spokesperson from Harvest Fine Foods said:“As a patron of Hampshire Care Association, we were proud to host and sponsor the care cook workshops for care chefs. At Harvest, we are always looking for innovative solutions for our customers catering requirements and from working with Preston, we are learning what care chefs requirements are in more detail”.