Residents, staff get together to try out potential new menu items.
When Joseph Bisaccia, foodservice director at St. Cabrini Nursing Home, goes to food shows, “I end up guessing what the residents might like,” he says. Recently, the food show came to the residents at the Dobbs Ferry, NY, nursing home.
“What better way to find out which new foods they’d like to try than bringing that same variety here for them to try,” says Bisaccia, who worked with Chef Supervisor John Hammer to gather ten vendors together for the event.
More than 100 residents had the chance to try about 100 different foods, served by the vendors, including some that were a little out-of-the-box, such as chicken sliders, sweet and sour meatloaf and black bean and roasted corn salad.
The residents enjoyed sampling all the different food, and Bisaccia says the food show was an unusual opportunity for vendors to meet the actual residents who eat their food.
The event was held in the facility’s Multi Purpose room, where, “we meant to have residents come down in shifts, but once there, many residents had so much fun they didn’t want to leave,” he says. “We could’ve used a much larger room.”
“In long-term care, much more so than in hospitals, dining is a major part of the resident’s day,” Bisaccia says. “It’s a major activity for them.”
As a result of the food show, “we have ordered several items already,” Bisaccia says. Some of the new menu items that came from the food show: Fire Roasted Southwestern Pollack, Island Grill Tilapia, Pork Loins, Oatmeal Pancakes, Sweet Potato Patties, Collard Greens and Zucchini Sticks.
“We are also in the process of developing an all-new menu cycle, and we will be including several other items that were on display at the show,” he adds.
Although the event was a bit complex to plan, what with food preparation, heating and refrigeration concerns and display options, Bisaccia says he plans to do the show on an annual basis, since it was a worthwhile event.