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Maggie’s update

29 April, 2021

Firstly, there was the Congress, the first time ever that every sector of Aged Care came together in Sydney to both listen to each other and work through the outcomes hoped for. It was a totally collaborative view of the way forward, complex as it is, with the Department of Health in attendance, wanting to hear from industry their suggested pathways to a better way forward. We know that a good food life is such a strong key to wellbeing and we believe that everyone in Aged Care deserves it. So many people in aged care are working so hard to do better with little support and there are Aged Care Homes in every State where they do it so well; every resident in every home needs to have this right. How I wish we could wave a magic wand and all the wonderful ideas from every sector could be put into place and, though it will take time, the journey is on the way.

The night before the Congress I was definitely out of my comfort zone; with equal measure of trepidation and excitement I was a guest on the Drum, not knowing what was to be thrown at me.   Feeling tongue tied at first until I found some sort of stride. Then after the Congress an exciting mix of  ABC morning TV news,  the Drive Show,  other interviews and Sunrise, each asking great questions about the outcome of the Congress and touching on the Royal Commission. However, the one interview I did do that was so gentle and relaxed was at the Farm Shop when the inspirational Kurt Fearnley visited for his One Plus One show on ABC. It was such a delight, indeed a privilege, to have him visit, to talk and to cook with him was a joy.   Such positive energy, grit and humour combined.

I can share that I have just finished filming in Sydney for 8 of the 11 educational segments we have been planning to support the core issues faced by cooks and chefs in Aged Care. They won’t be available for several months as it’s a large editing job. Even though every filming day was 11 hours long, it was a wonderful thing to do and so many people were involved before it got to the filming days (and I have to call out the extraordinary work of  Foundation Chef, Eliza Thomas), yet as the cameras rolled I really could see that this will be what we have so worked towards, a  great tool cooks and chefs. I want to thank our guest presenters that shared so much of their knowledge so generously. Cath Manuel, Dr. Sandra Iuliano, Morgan Pankhurst APD, Chef Peter Morgan Jones, our Foundation Chef Amanda Orchard who both presented and worked tirelessly late into the night to have the preparation done for the next day with the help of Aged Care Chef Angela Garcia;   from our multicultural segment from ANHF Homes Sam Tsang and his Manager Patrick, the extraordinarily zen Chef  Ved Prasad from Gallipoli Homes and  Compass Group Executive Chef Leo Gsteine who all gave of their time to help bring as much knowledge together as possible. However, it could not have happened without the great team from Altura;  Steve Iliffe and Adrienne Sun  and  our director Mark Barnard and every single one  of the  crew. It might have been long days and not always easy but the filming was done at all times with such positive energy that really kept us all going.  I can’t wait till later in the year when they will be available.

Autumn is my favourite month of all and yet coming home to the Barossa I can feel the first signs of chill in the air and winter coming. I so hope you are all well, Maggie