Theo Bostock is part of Rational’s corporate chef team, specialising in providing equipment and menu support for care home groups and operators. He reveals the kitchen trends and challenges in this sector of the market – as well as some of his own culinary inspirations.
What’s a typical challenge you’ve come up against in a care home?
I visited one care home that was struggling to get all their cakes, muffins and other baked goods cooked, as they all needed to be individually monitored, making it a time-consuming process. Together we created a shopping cart in iProductionManager that allowed them to group all their baked goods together in one place.
By using the iProductionManager’s individual timers they could bake them all together, without the need for monitoring, which saved some much-needed time in the kitchen.
What key menu challenges are care homes likely to encounter in 2021?
Rational unveiled the new iVario and iCombi Pro cooking systems last year. Which functions or features will most benefit care home operators?
The new cooking systems are flexible and easy to use, meaning that anyone can prepare a wide variety of fresh and nutritious meals, without the need for chef-level training.
What trends do you see in the care home catering sector in 2021?
Fresh food is going to be the big focus, with the emphasis on quality and consistency.
Tell us about one signature recipe for a care home operator that the latest equipment can assist with…
Rice pudding. Typically this can be a time-consuming job, which requires a lot of monitoring and can result in a lot of wastage. With the iVario you can simply select the setting and the iCookingSuite will take care of the process.
The iVario’s precise temperature control and cooking intelligence eliminate overcooking, so there’s never any burning or sticking — so there’s no food waste. There’s no need to monitor, either, allowing you to get on with other tasks around the kitchen.