This is the food that you can get in residential aged care

Uniting NSW.ACT is aware of the criticism that is often levelled at the food served in residential aged care homes.

The Not For Profit is passionate about the food served to residents and determined that as well meeting residents’ nutrition needs, their food looks and tastes delicious and as well as catering to their individual desires as much as possible.

To keep its chefs on their toes, and highlight their skills, Uniting holds an annual cooking competition across its 35 in-house catered aged care facilities to serve up the best mains and desserts, as well as the best of both using purely texture modified foods.

Uniting Hotel Services Specialist, Brendon Gakowski, said this year’s competition resulted in some amazing dishes that wouldn’t look out of place in top class restaurants.

“The talent of our chefs is just incredible, and I was particularly blown away by the exquisite mains and desserts they produced from texture modified foods, which is not easy from a presentation point of view,” Brendon said.

Using texture modified foods is essential for residents who have swallowing difficulties. According to Speech Pathology Australia, up to 22% of Australians over the age of 50 experience some form of swallowing difficulty and up to 50% of people in residential aged care have dysphagia.

“In the past the kinds of meals prepared for people with dysphagia were very limited and unappealing, reducing meal-time related quality of life for people who need these foods to survive,” Brendon said.

“At Uniting we’re committed to improving the resident’s experience and enjoyment of their food, no matter what their health issues, as we believe food enjoyment contributes not only to mental wellbeing but also helps with physical nutrition.”

The Department of Health and Aged Care has been introducing more stringent food standards in aged care as part of its reforms into the sector, and Uniting has been transforming the dining experience for its residents across all its 75 aged care homes.

Uniting has teamed with The Pure Food Co, a multiple-award winning New Zealand based business focussed purely on producing the best quality texture modified food in collaboration with chefs, dieticians, and speech therapists.

“The collaboration with The Pure Food Co has been a game-changer for us in that we are much better able to provide our residents with specific needs tailored meals with the right balance of nutrition and flavour,” Brendon said.

From 30 chefs across Uniting, the winners included Suraj Pradhan (Uniting Bankstown), Michael Orchard (Uniting Annesley Haberfield), Tanka Rana (Uniting Banks Lodge Peakhurst) and Raj Katuwal (Uniting Berry).

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.