Culinary practice in collectivities: feeding thousands of users with very different nutritional needs

By Ana Turón, Responsible of Restauración Colectiva and the Congress of Collective Catering

We are facing the last of the articles of the newsletter ‘Horeca Stories’, through which we have tried to give visibility and inform about the great challenges faced by collective catering; a catering that we all experience throughout our lives (nursery school, school, university, company, hospital, residence…) but that very few value despite the great responsibility that falls on it.

In previous issues, we have talked about the market, artificial intelligence, purchases, food waste, food safety… all very important topics but all fundamentally related to management. We have also been mentioning various solutions and services that respond to the different challenges facing the sector; solutions that can be known firsthand at the ‘Restauración en Colectividades: meeting point’ space (#RCMeetingPoint) of Alimentaria & Hostelco.

But we still have to talk about one last topic… something without which none of the rest would make sense and which, especially in this sector, is sometimes relegated to an unfair second place. We are talking about nothing less than cooking; and not about the installation, but about the cooks (mostly female cooks) who work tirelessly every day to feed and provide food to thousands of users with special and very different nutritional needs.

For them, for all those people whose work is not usually publicly recognized and who are almost never taken into account in major events, the sixth edition of the Congress of Collective Catering wanted to give prominence and visibility to culinary practice in collectivities; especially dedicated to those most vulnerable collectives such as children in school canteens, the elderly, and hospitalized patients.

Among the many activities spread over the four days of the congress, different showcookings have been organized that are a call to participation for kitchen professionals; in them, cooks will see situations reflected from their daily lives, will live stories similar to theirs, and will find answers to questions they face daily.

School menus… vegetarian and cooked without fire

Specialist chefs from Rational have prepared a showcooking entitled ‘Designing a sustainable, healthy, and delicious school menu with vegetable protein‘. Providing boys and girls with a healthy, balanced, and appetizing diet is crucial for them to grow and develop their daily activities properly and with enough energy. Patricia Rusler, corporate chef of Rational, and Ghaim Kidane, responsible for major accounts in collectivities, will present a menu that meets all these requirements. A menu produced live, in less than 45 minutes and with only two cooking appliances: ‘iCombi Pro 6 1/1’ and ‘iVario 2-XS’.

Rational’s proposal for a fireless kitchen involves a reduction in the total surface area occupied in the kitchen, freeing up 30% of space. It facilitates the work of the cook and is also a commitment to caring for the environment, minimizing energy consumption per kilogram of food produced and reducing food wastage. Eating well and sustainably at school is possible!

Menus with modified textures, the Achilles’ heel in sociosanitary centers

The prevalence of dysphagia in geriatric residences is very high, as eight out of ten elderly people suffer from it, according to estimates from the Foundation for Gastroenterology Research, Furega. This condition involves difficulty in swallowing or deglutinating liquid or solid elements due to affectation of one or more phases of swallowing… in other words, it prevents people from chewing and swallowing normally.

Adapting food for individuals with dysphagia involves a set of techniques aimed at not only hydrating and nourishing a person safely but also restoring satisfaction and the ability to taste familiar foods.

In this regard, the culinary demonstration by the team from the Mataró Hospital is noteworthy, a center with a pioneering research group in this field. Paula Viñas, dietitian-nutritionist at the center, and Fernando Dolera, chef at Serhs Food, specializing in dysphagia menus at the same hospital, will prepare a complete menu with the aim of helping to improve knowledge about feeding people with oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) and the main characteristics of modified texture diets (MTD).

Beyond recipe adaptation, we also need to talk about technology. Hospitals, residential centers, and day centers should always have tools to properly adapt food to meet the needs of individuals with dysphagia.

In this line, Francesc González, chef product manager at Cotesa, will present the colloid mill at the fair; a device that facilitates the chef’s work in texturizing, optimizing processes, and utilizing 100% of the raw material, preserving all the organoleptic properties of the food.

Eating in nursing homes and hospitals… much more than just nourishment

Gallina Blanca Foodservice, another sponsor of the #RCMeetingPoint space, will present some of its products through the tasting of different preparations. The workshop, led by chef Aridane Rivero, aims to demonstrate how the brand’s broths play a fundamental role in ensuring nutritional quality, food safety, and efficiency in the kitchen of environments specialized in social catering.

Finally, Agar Asesoría Alimentaria will also present a workshop on nutrition adapted to malnutrition for nursing homes and hospitals, as part of the event organized by the Spanish Association of Hospital Hospitality (AEHH). Drawing from their experience in nursing homes, the Agar team (Silvia Mayor – chef -, Xavier Beltrán – dietitian-nutritionist -, and Inés García – consultant in collectivities) has created a training program that merges their nutritional and gastronomic expertise to convey to the kitchen and dining room teams of socio-sanitary centers the keys to facilitating adequate protein intake for users.

Temporary kitchens, hygiene products, and nearly unbreakable dishes

A good culinary practice doesn’t work without the support of technology and good tools. In addition to the mentioned Rational equipment, the demo kitchen where all these showcookings will take place will be equipped with appliances provided by the brand Kitchening, a company specialized in the construction of temporary kitchens and dedicated to renting industrial kitchen equipment and commercial refrigeration.

The tableware used for plating will be from the ‘Careware’ line by Bormioli Rocco, a range made of opal glass that meets the most demanding requirements regarding resistance, versatility, functionality, hygiene, and compatibility with the operation of collective catering services.

Lastly, Zambú will be the provider of professional cleaning and hygiene products.

-Check the detailed days and schedules of all activities in the space.

Press contact

Susanna Santamaría
(+34) 93 452 11 04

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