In relation to food prepared by a chef

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SJayDee
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In relation to food prepared by a chef

Post by SJayDee » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:15 am

Okay so I’m just after some facts about healthy food prep.
Our chef cooks the food the day before and then reheats it the next day for the kids to eat for lunch. Our director is well aware of this. The food tastes terrible every day and I’m finding myself making a bunch of sandwiches because as soon as the chef brings lunch to the rooms she leaves for her lunch break. I’ve spoken to her before about making me a few sandwiches (as I’m in a room in my own) but she just won’t do it. I’m very frustrated.
Can anyone point me in the direction of any evidence to back up the fact that food should be prepared fresh everyday? Our centre advises freshly made meals but for a year now they have been served reheated sausages and pasta. The only things she cooks ‘fresh’ are fish fingers which are cooked 2 hrs before the children are given them.
Also should food be covered with glad wrap when left in the rooms? I’ve suggested foil as I know it keeps the heat better but she did it one time and now we’re back to glad wrap. I just want to know if this is a serious problem or are myself and others just so frustrated and fed up with our management that we’re stressing ourselves out. Should I report to our regulatory authority? I’m just at my wits end.
We’re having other issues with ratios where our 3-4 and 4-5 yr olds are being told to join rooms so we can cut staff, then we end up with 20+ kids in one room. Everything’s just feeling all over the place with staff moving around rooms constantly and pressure from head office for children leaving but then they put our fees up.
But yes the food is a real downer as meals times should be a positive experience and right now it’s just very stressful.


Butterflyblue
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Re: In relation to food prepared by a chef

Post by Butterflyblue » Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:11 pm

Food does not have to be prepared fresh daily in order for it to for example, retain its nutrients, so the cook - chill method is used frequently in the hospitality sector including in child cares.
However the taste can be impacted if food is not reheated properly, fresh produce wasn't used or was cooked with small flavour profiles, ready made ingredients etc
Usually some but not all of the meals are cook and serve i.e made then and there in childcares with a chef or cook.
Is anything made that way?

You shouldn't have to make sandwiches that aren't apart of the menu to replace poor quality meals. That's completely unfair and unprofessional. In addition if this isn't part if your job it could be an OH&S issue as it's the cooks job to safely prepare and handle food whereas the educators may only handle food so there are distinctions to be made there in terms of your role. Is making food something your allowed to/expected to do daily?
How does this work in terms of ratios, if you have to leave the room?

Fish fingers cooked 2 hours prior to serving time are not 'fresh', unless the cooking process takes 2 hours for some reason, which I don't think is even possible?
You may cool food hot from an oven for 5 - 10 minutes so it doesn't burn someone trying to eating but 2 hours sounds ridiculous! Are they even warm when served?

Food should be covered with foil for only short periods of time to keep hot items warm if serving immediately
Plastic wrap can be used to cover food that isn't hot (room temperature or cold)
It's not suitable for hot food because it can't withstand the heat until it has been cooled. I'd proceed with extreme caution here, you need to be careful with food being served and the temperature they are served at and stored at. A little confused why the Chef isn't checking on these things


Fresh food can mean fresh ingredients and a whole lot of things but if your centre is saying that food is prepared daily i.e cooking not just reheating then this may be a problem. Technically you can reheat food but most chefs will make meals to serve straight away...


I'm guessing you make sandwiches because the kids don't eat any or only a little of the food given to them?
It's not fair if that's the case. Also the chef should ensure the children are eating the food by either looking for themselves or asking for feedback from the other staff members.


If you have voiced your concerns to the director and you feel head office is making things even more difficult then maybe it's time to approach someone from the regulatory authority.

If you have no complaints from parents and kids, no issues with ratios etc I would start with internal procedures for feedback and complaints or something such as surveys for the children on whether they liked the food, charting food preferences, food wastage etc but it sounds like there's quite a few problems.

Have any of the parents complained?
Is it possible for the staff to address the director, chef and someone higher up within the company as a collective?

It's hard to say without knowing bits of information but there are a couple of things you can do:
- keep a diary of what happens during the day as a record
- look up the companys complaints, feedback procedures
- read through ACECQA's resources regarding regulations on ratios etc



Source: childcare caterer

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