Working in food services means mastering food to the smallest detail. And for that, we can count on our chefs and on our dedicated team of dieticians.
Contrary to popular belief, their job is not only to calculate calories and define allergens. They face very different challenges. Take a trip into the daily life of our Compass Group dieticians.
(photo left to right: Nicolas Bouckaert, Kirsten Struyfs, Lotte Hellinckx, Wendy De Munter)
Defining tailor-made menus for all of our clients
Our dieticians focus on the health and safety of consumers as well as on the hygiene and quality of products. In addition, they make sure that everything we do complies with the guidelines imposed either by the authorities (for certain health care institutions or for schools for example) or by the client. Wendy De Munter explains: "We provide as much food advice as possible. But the main challenge is to compose balanced menus which meet everyone's needs. It is a question of finding the right compromise between all the parties involved: the internal operations managers who take care of the operations, the customer, the chef and the kitchen brigade, as well as (and above all) the consumers."
Add to that the environmental issues that we need to address. Our dieticians try to reduce the portions of meat (100 g is the ideal amount per plate) or offer a wider selection of fruits and vegetables. Vegetarian recipes are now much more varied and accessible. Thanks to the theoretical and scientific knowledge of our dieticians, we can create appropriate menus. We offer a plethora of dishes to satisfy all cravings, but we also invite the consumer to think about his or her diet and take the healthiest option.
More efficient service and tools
Our team of dieticians is made up of Nicolas Bouckaert, Kirsten Struyfs, Lotte Hellinckx and Wendy de Munter. Each has his or her own area of expertise and, together, they perfectly meet the needs of Compass Group customers. Wendy continues: "When it comes to menu composition, for Eurest and Scolarest, it's more about prevention, whereas for Medirest, it's about curation. In nursing homes, we want to make sure that our chefs cook healthy and appetising meals. If the food isn't appealing, patients often don't eat enough and they get undernourished."
"In our toolbox, we have a 10-step plan to analyse the diet and environment of the patient, which is necessary in cases of undernourishment. We meet with the health care staff who provide us with the information we need and we establish a personalised menu, according to the patient's health status and the goals we want to achieve.
In addition, we use FoodWare, which is a meal management system we developed and which ensures that the right meals get served to the right patients.
Finally, we use YouMeal to calculate nutritional values, report allergens, provide ingredient lists and estimate environmental impact for all of our recipes."
Things to avoid
"One thing we need to be wary of," Wendy adds, "are trends and hypes. We have to focus on reliable information - tried and tested - and not go along with the craze of the moment. For example, a recent hype suggested that potatoes were bad foods and should be avoided. But, as dieticians, we know full well that potatoes are excellent foodstuffs and good for you. Provided, of course, you prepare them right and with little or no fats."