Working With Local Government
Local Governments are not just Community Chef’s customers; they’re its Shareholders.
Community Chef is a local government-owned, social enterprise that provides quality meals at affordable prices for people who are nutritionally at risk as defined in the Victorian HACC Program Manual.
The organisation has a uniquely informed and valuable perspective on the challenges of delivering high-quality and nutritious meals to the elderly and frail, to people with a disability, to hospitals and to aged care facilities. It was formed as a direct outcome of concerns expressed by local governments, throughout Victoria, about long-term food security and the nutritional well-being of those most vulnerable in the community.. These concerns extended to food safety and the quality, variety and size of meal portions and risk issues. Failure of the private market to provide suitable choice and quality, and the significant level of financial investment required by individual councils to meet food safety standards and upgrade existing kitchens, meant a new and long-term solution was critically needed.
Thirteen municipalities formed the ground-breaking joint venture Regional Kitchen Pty Ltd and became the drivers behind the development and construction of a state-of-the-art food production facility in Altona that is leased to Community Chef for the development and production of nutritious, varied, value-for-money meals. With passion and determination to ‘make it happen’, collaboration and consultation at every step of the way saw the kitchen open in December 2010. Community Chef now has 20 local government customers and shareholders to which it provides more than 1.2 Million meals per year.. The organisation is now expanding its services to regional Victoria.
Community Chef Menus and Meals:
Nutrition, Taste, Flexibility and Value Paramount
Community Chef’s evolving and expanding product menu offers nutritious lunch, dinner and snack selections to tantalise the tastebuds. Importantly for councils, it provides significant flexibility in tailoring orders to meet the specific needs of a wide variety of meal recipients.
The full menu range currently comprises 54 soups, 244 mains, 39 side vegetable options, 78 main salads, 91 desserts and 41 sandwich varieties. Menus are seasonally rotated, with four menus per year, and a four-week cycle in each menu, and there is a 30 day shelf-life for most meals, excluding sandwiches and salads. The menu range delivers six main meal choices per day, with a choice of Anglo-Australia, Roast, International, Vegetarian, Asian and Salad or Sandwich. Special and complex dietary needs can be fully catered for, including texture modified meals, and diabetic, low fat, low salt, high fibre and low protein diets. Halal, Kosher and gluten-free meals are offered through third party suppliers.
Each full meal size is 450 to 500 grams, well above the HACC 350 gram requirement, and the nutritional balance is independently verified. Community Chef works hand in hand with Leading Nutrition, a specialist dietetics group, on all stages of the menu development process. Senior chefs are involved at each stage of the production process and a dedicated research and development chef regularly visits customer sites.
In terms of guaranteed supply in the event of an emergency, Community Chef is party to a reciprocal contingency arrangement with two Victorian hospital super kitchens and an interstate commercial supplier.
Community Chef’s Quality Nutrition Solutions
Community Chef meals are carefully developed to meet, or exceed, the HACC Delivered Meals requirements for the provision of energy, vitamins, proteins and minerals. Community Chef meals are low in salt and sugar, are made from fresh ingredients and ensure that people at risk of weight loss are not provided with inappropriate low-fat meals.
Community Chef also offers solutions for meal recipients who do not want or require the full three courses traditionally offered in Council-delivered meal programs and who put their health at risk by opting for cheaper, less-nutritious main meal only options from supermarkets or mass market suppliers.
Community Chef and Environmental Benefits
Councils working with Community Chef know they are purchasing superior meals that are prepared and processed in a facility that utilises cutting-edge technology to maximise efficiencies and environmental benefits, including passive and active energy saving systems and water saving systems. Meal packaging is recyclable and meals are delivered in returnable crates.
Community Chef’s passion is to provide healthy and appealing food for the nutritionally at risk; food that meal recipients enjoy and truly want to eat.
Councils are welcome to arrange a tour of Community Chef’s award-winning Altona facility and sample the menu range.
For details, or to discuss the specific business benefits of joining Community Chef and Community Chef Governance, call us on 03 9368 5900 or contact us.