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Food is on the menu at conference

November 3rd, 2023

Food service supervisors learn how to make fruits and veggies look pretty.

Every day, residents at Points West Living communities enjoy tasty, nutritious, well-prepared meals. The raw ingredients themselves are, of course, essential elements. But another vital element that ensures the quality of each meal are the people in the kitchen who prepare them.

To help the kitchen employees grow their skills and bond as a team, Connecting Care—which manages the PWL communities, among others—hosted a Hospitality/Food Service Supervisor Conference. Over a dozen food service supervisors from a range of Connecting Care communities attended the event on October 19, 2023, in the Sysco warehouse just west of Edmonton.

Running from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event offered a range of presentations and activities, but two in particular stood out.

Wilbert Bolotano from Points West Living Prince Albert did a fruit-carving demonstration,” said John Skinner, Connecting Care Operations Manager, who helped organize the conference. “Everyone liked the fruit carving.”

Here, Bolotano not only demonstrated how to do the carving, but also shared numerous examples of how he has made food displays or a resident’s personal food plate extra special. This, in turn, has impacted the joy and well-being of residents and employee care partners.

Another highlight was led by Sysco, a food wholesaler that distributes a range of products like fresh produce, dairy and meats to organizations like Connecting Care. Since the conference took place at its facilities, “We had a tour of the Sysco warehouse,” said Santosh Sananse, Connecting Care Corporate Chef, who also helped organize the conference. Participants were able to see where the food comes from that helps feed their communities, and discover how it’s treated in the warehouse. “It was an experience for them which they’ve never had before,” Sananse said, “so that was kind of exciting for them.”

Now that these food service supervisors have expanded their knowledge, they’re encouraged to share the learnings with their kitchen employees, which can range from a few people in smaller communities to up to 30 or 40 in larger ones.

However, the conference wasn’t only about food. “It was about team-building—bringing the team together that hadn’t seen each other in over three years due to the pandemic,” Skinner said. It was also about learning how to work smoothly as a team. “If staff treat each other well, that trickles down to residents getting treated well.”

See more photos here.

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