A spoonful of joy as residents help cooking demonstrations


It’s ready… set… cook! for residents at Bupa Sunset Care Home in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland as they watch and get involved in cooking demonstrations hosted by the care home team.

The weekly demonstrations have the staff preparing entrees, mains, and desserts from scratch with an audience of hungry residents. They are then ably assisted by some volunteer residents when it’s time to chop, stir or roll ingredients for each meal.

The meal ideas have not only come from the team members themselves but also the residents with a wide variety of cuisines already covered such as Indian vegetarian and street food, Mexican, Spanish, Nepalese, and Vietnamese delicacies.

Ngaire Burgess has been living in the care home for a year now and asked staff to make sure there weren’t any seeds in her meal. The resident says it’s the first time she had tried the latest cuisine of both sweet and savoury Indian dishes but found them very flavourful.

“I liked the different tastes and it’s not spicy for me which is good. I find it’s nice to try something different sometimes and to watch how they make it,” Ngaire says.

Bupa Sunset Care Home Manager Pauline Mellor has praised her team for coming up with the idea to do weekly cooking demonstrations and for keeping it fresh with new food ideas too.

“The residents really do look forward to it and it’s great to see so much engagement from them too. Food is so important to them and they love to see how it’s prepared and made.”

The team have also noticed lots of reminiscing from residents about cooking in their own kitchens in days gone by. The cooking demonstrations trigger strong memories of big family gatherings and large amounts of food prepared. Caregiver Kulbir Gill says resident involvement and the variety in foods from different countries has meant the audience for their demonstrations within the care home has grown.

“Today they helped to roll out the dough and roti for us, they really like to get involved and of course to have a sample taste before we break for the full lunch,” she says.

The team all agree when they know if a dish was well liked… empty plates.