Move over Matt, George and Gary – there is a new team of judges in town!
The folks at the Altona Senior Citizens Centre have been busy tasting and judging the culinary works of 15 job seekers and master chefs in the making.
The Work for the Dole initiative was developed by Altona Senior Citizens Centre in partnership with Employment Plus, with the aim of providing a nutritious lunch for seniors and valuable kitchen and food handling skills for job seekers. Every Tuesday and Thursday over a period of six months, the job seekers prepared and served a free three course lunch to members of the Centre.
“This has been a fantastic exercise not only in kitchen skills, but in nutrition and maintaining a healthy diet, with both the job seekers and the seniors benefitting from the outcomes,” said Kelly Meehan, Employment Plus’ Work for the Dole Advisor.
Before donning their aprons and heating their saucepans, the job seekers undertook training in food handling and proper use of kitchen equipment.
The team also took part in weekly meetings with their supervisor and Altona Senior Citizens Committee Members to maintain and continuously improve the standard, quality and timeliness of their meal delivery.
As the meals were presented the seniors voted for their favourites, with the winners starring in a new cookbook – The Nutritious Cookbook – published by the Altona Senior Citizens Centre.
“The Nutritious Cookbook has been a big gastronomic hit, with the likes of spinach and broccoli soup, apple and pear crumble and the classic mashed potato winning over a lot of tastebuds!,” said Kim Reilly, Treasurer for Altona Senior Citizens.
“Through serving the meals and the publication of the cookbook, the participants in the program increased their confidence and enhanced their interaction and involvement with the local community.
“One of the participants, John, wasn’t overly keen to be involved at the start, but now he is planning on coming back to the Centre and cooking every week, even after the program has finished.
“He’s also signed up as a volunteer at the Centre, is playing bowls with the seniors and has encouraged his wife to come along too.
“We are absolutely delighted with the outcome for everyone involved, and look forward to welcoming John as a regular at the Centre!”