As a Red Seal chef and having worked in the business of hospitality my entire life, I couldn’t foresee myself becoming a specialist within the field of long-term care or care-based retirement.
Eight years ago I decided it was time for a change from the style of hospitality I had previously done my entire life – hotels, winery restaurants, cruise ships, embassies, catering companies, etc. – and make a move into a different sector of hospitality. I joined a high-end retirement company and worked as a food and beverage manager for one of their properties within the Niagara region. This was an exciting transition, but I wanted to help and do more to alter the food products that our seniors were being served. I saw the potential for change and how we could forge ahead with it, making the current product better and more consistent. So I dug deeper, asked a few more questions and decided to take a leap of faith!
I joined a consulting company that focused mainly on food and dietetics within LTC properties and it opened my eyes to the current practices within the business in regards to food production. I was not impressed and often was discouraged by the lack of care that some cooks/ chefs put into their cooking. I would think “come on, you guys have to put some more effort into this food, this is someone’s grandparents!”
I want to open the eyes of chefs that are in “regular” hospitality and showcase how they can truly make a difference within these communities. First off, you need to realize that the food isn’t all “slop”. If you have that mentality, then this business is not for you. Some food is texture modified for residents with swallowing issues, that’s it. When I’m describing the texture modified items to other chefs, I tell them to think of this style of food like a high-end puree that would be swirled under as a garnish or a vegetable component within a dish. At that point, they don’t think of it as “slop”. If we can discuss the “why” to these chefs then I believe we will have more join the business of healthcare hospitality. The benefits and upsides are pretty good as well.
I didn’t get into the food business to be famous, I got into this business because I love food and the enjoyment that people get when I serve them something that I have created.
I want to inspire and lead team members to create a hospitality revolution within the LTC and retirement culinary business that has never been seen before. My goal is delicious nutritious food and a warm and welcoming hospitality experience… consistently.
About the author:
Daryl Neamtu, Red Seal Chef
President and Founder, DN Hospitality
With a diverse background in hospitality that includes high-end eateries, government residences and high commissions, tourist destinations and cruise lines around the world, Daryl has returned to Canada and has turned his focus to developing a team specializing in dietary/culinary consulting primarily to the long-term care and retirement community.
Daryl’s time in the long-term care and retirement communities opened up a whole new passion for him and he saw an opportunity to utilize his expertise in foodservice and hospitality to impact the nutrition and care for seniors. Joining a consulting company in a corporate chef role, Daryl focused on working with clients to develop pleasurable dining programs with safe, delicious and nutritious means that are age and culturally appropriate. His consulting experience encouraged him to develop and facilitate training programs in food service technology within the long-term care and retirement field.