Latest Ryman news

Ryman residents to be tempted with exciting menus

Written by Alan Wood
on February 22, 2024

The feel-good factor around a sumptuous meal served up professionally in the village dining room can help Ryman residents’ overall sense of wellbeing. Eating well and with pleasure will also help their health. 


That is the view of Ryman’s Food Team and village Senior Lead Chefs who have been planning mouth-watering recipes and food selections that will make up autumn, winter, spring, and summer menus for 2024. 


Menu Development Chef Matt Orr alongside the Chefs Panel are working tirelessly to create a menu for all seasons. The panel includes Regional Lead Chefs Gabrielle Lewis, Casey Cowley, Darryl Neshausen, and Stephen Town-Treweek, alongside Senior Lead Chefs Helen Higgins (Charles Upham), Andre Kassal (Edmund Hillary), Andrew Martin (Malvina Major) and Tim Garlick (Jane Mander).

IMG_3017 large


Gabrielle says this year the chefs panel discussed a range of topics, from creative menu ideas to practical considerations like food supply challenges, product quality, cultural aspects, and the creation of texture-modified meals.

“We will look at the menu we did last year in 2023 – we go okay, what worked? what didn’t work? how does it flow, what do we need to take out, what are new ideas we can put in, and how can make things more exciting.” 


Matt Orr says he has been collaborating with dietitian Arna McLeod to provide residents with a diverse range of nutritious and flavourful options and is working to improve choices of texture-modified food designed to be easier for some residents to consume.


“So now it’s more around choice. We do have a texture-modified menu... we want to look at the foods we prepare on a daily basis and look at where we can modify them into texture-modified foods.”

IMG_3191 large


Recognising the cultural diversity among residents, this year the design panel has been paying special attention to cultural foods. Discussions involve incorporating a variety of cultural cuisines into the menus, aiming to celebrate diversity and create a dining experience that is not only delicious but also culturally appropriate. The aim is to have a good balance of traditional and modern dishes to suit all tastes. 


Gabrielle Lewis says it is importance to highlight and emphasise the dining experience. Residents' emotional well-being is directly influenced by their interactions in the dining room. Personalised connections, such as caregivers addressing residents by name and providing details about meals, play a crucial role in fostering trust and positively impacting residents' overall well-being.


“How someone feels will impact on how good they feel about eating, and then ultimately what they consume will impact their physical health. So, it’s very much about wellbeing,” Gabrielle says. 

In our recent meeting in Christchurch, we delved not only into the intricacies of the upcoming seasonal menus but also the overall dining experience.”


The chefs panel discussed improving the flow of meals throughout the day, ensuring variety without repetition, and considering the preferences of residents adopting a more 'flexitarian' approach. 


Gabrielle says in villages importance is placed on the personalised connections, creating a positive atmosphere that enhances the overall dining experience for residents. All residents no matter the level of care they are in can find comfort and joy in familiar recipes.


Group Resident Experience Manager Rachel Garrard says the commitment of the Ryman Chefs design panel, alongside Matt Orr and Gabrielle Lewis, ensures that residents not only enjoy diverse and delicious menus but also benefit from a dining experience that promotes emotional well-being, community connection, and cultural inclusivity.

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

You may also like: