October 1st was World Vegetarian Day, the yearly celebration promoting the ‘joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities’ of vegetarianism.
Frome Nursing Home head chef Ben Kerslake has ensured that any vegetarians at the home are catered for with every meal.
In fact, some of Ben’s vegetarian meals are proving so popular that even those who eat meat are ditching it in favour of his own meat free alternatives!
Betty Bateman, 94 years young, who is a regular beneficiary of Ben’s culinary prowess, is one of them, often opting for the veggie option for lunch. When asked about the food at Frome Nursing Home, Betty responds, “edible,” with a twinkle in her eye, as she looks up to grin at chef Ben.
Betty, along with many of the family members at Frome Nursing Home, is a big fan of Ben’s special Vegetarian Lasagne.
Doreen Wilkins is another family member who often chooses a vegetarian option when she eats and happens to think Ben’s cooking is eggcellent! Doreen’s three favourite things to eat are poached eggs, scrambled eggs and omelette, which of course, are all vegetarian. She described the food at Frome as, “fantastic, blooming brilliant!”
Head chef Ben, who last year finished as a runner-up in the 2018 Awards for Excellence in Vegetarian and Vegan Care Catering competition held at the houses of parliament is proud of the impact that he and other staff have achieved in diversifying the menu at Frome.
“It was a proud achievement because going back 12 to 13 years ago where we had no vegetarian options available, to being awarded for what we do now was great. We cater to our family member’s needs and they enjoy it!”
As well as being tasty, researchers suggest that increasing our vegetable intake can boost the health of our brains and could even reduce the risk of dementia. Eating wholegrains, vegetables, nuts, beans, and lentils regularly have been found to improve brain health.
Whereas large consumption of high cholesterol, saturated fat and iron, all of which are high in meat products, have been found to increase the risk in Alzheimer’s, the most common form of Dementia.
Although Ben spends a lot of time in the kitchen preparing food, he still finds time in his day to go out and socialise with the family members at Frome.
“I love it, spending time with the family members. I call it my second home; the family members are just amazing and the model of care we have here is brilliant.”
At Frome Nursing Home we refer to those who stay with us as family members rather than residents as we feel that best reflects the household model practiced in our home. For Ben, this rings true.
“We’re all one big family – I’ve got my aunties, my nans, they look at me as a grandchild as well, it’s all about that connection.”