School training grounds for chefs

From left to right: MBF head chefs Michael Nam and Rachel Knight in Keysborough College's food-tech kitchen. Picture: SUPPLIED

Keysborough College, in collaboration with the Maggie Beer Foundation, had provided its food tech facilities to support the foundation’s chef training program.

Earlier in October the Maggie Beer Foundation (MBF) launched free national education and training programs for cooks and chefs in aged care homes.

The program was a single-day, intense training program that saw MBF head chefs Michael Nam and Rachel Knight training a number of chefs from various aged care facilities.

Stewart Winton and Madeline Harper, respectively the college’s head of facilities and the teacher in charge of food tech, were responsible for organising the training event.

“All in all the day was a success and the college looks forward to hosting the day again next year,” Mr Winton said.

Both staff and students were present during the program, all able to witness the expertise of the MBF chefs at work.

These new training opportunities have been assisted by $5 million in funding from the Federal Government’s department of health and aged care, in turn helping providers meet the new dedicated food and nutrition quality standard.

Maggie Beer AO, renowned Australian chef and aged care advocate said that the grant “allows us to reach so many more cooks and chefs, and it’s in the kitchens where real, lasting change will be made”.

Offering support to providers, homes, cooks and chefs through a wide range of free activities, the training programs are aimed at improving the dining and nutritional outcomes for elders in aged care.

“This is the most intense job I can imagine for a chef and it’s the hardest work I have ever done.

“People are working so hard, and I do not come across anyone who doesn’t want to change, but to be able to do that we need this education,” Ms Beer said.

The trainer mentor program is a free, 12-month endeavour that is in-home and tailored to the recipient by one of the foundation’s chef trainers.

Applications opened in early October and its first rounds are set to commence in March 2024.

Shorter courses for chefs and cooks are also available through state and territory hubs, with over 135 conducted across Australia and led by chef trainers to be delivered with a mix of in-person and online training.

Online learning modules are also an option, labelled as bite-sized training video resources for cooks, chefs and catering managers.

Currently, 11 modules are available with six more in production, all of which can be accessed through the foundation’s website.

Food satisfaction questionnaires are another avenue produced by Flinders University, where evidence-based quizzes measure resident, family and staff satisfaction with the recipient’s aged care home food program.

For further details and applications visit the Maggie Beer Foundation website at