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HammondCare's new Executive Chef plans to be a 'catalyst for change'

A chef who has cooked for the Royal family and alongside some of Australia’s best known chefs has been appointed Executive Chef and Food Ambassador by HammondCare.

Peter Morgan-Jones.
"It will be great to be able to give something back." Peter Morgan-Jones.

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Peter Morgan-Jones, fresh from a five year stint as Head Chef at the Art Gallery of NSW, has taken up the new role with HammondCare, which has more than 2000 aged care residents and clients across nearly 20 sites.

Chief Executive Dr Stephen Judd said HammondCare was excited about Peter’s appointment, a process which began with encouragement from celebrity chef and Senior Australian of the Year 2010, Maggie Beer.

Dr Judd said HammondCare had a long-standing commitment to excellence in food service and promoting choice for residents but this was taken to a new level when Maggie Beer presented a Forbidden Fruits reception at the HammondCare annual conference in 2011.

“Maggie has said that she’d rather die than eat the food offered in some aged care facilities, but was glad there were exceptions,” Dr Judd said. “We have been determined to be one of those exceptions and Peter’s appointment is another step in that process.”

Peter Morgan-Jones’ list of culinary highlights includes catering for Buckingham Palace garden parties with 8,000 guests, managing 120 chef’s on-site for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and working in some of Sydney’s most iconic restaurants including Gay Bilson’s Berowra Water’s Inn, Bennelong at the Opera House, the three-hat MG Garage with Janni Kyritsis and his own one-hat Clock Hotel Restaurant.

He has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Matt Moran, Neil Perry, Luke Mangan and Mark Best and taught cooking techniques to several Masterchef contestants who spent weekends in the Art Gallery kitchen. Now Peter Morgan-Jones has embraced the opportunity to bring to the aged care sector his vast restaurant experience along with his love of “unadulterated” food where “the flavours do the talking” and fresh, seasonal and sustainable produce.

“I’ve worked in restaurants and hotels and have been able to share the joy of a pleasurable meal but what sold me on this new role is the care factor,” Peter said. “To be able to use my food knowledge and love of cooking to improve the quality of life of older people is an amazing opportunity. It will be great to be able to give something back.

“I’m looking forward to working with HammondCare to implement change in the food philosophy of aged care. I’m hoping my work here will be a catalyst for change across the sector.”

Chef Morgan-Jones will be “hands on”, cooking with staff and residents in two central kitchens and up to 29 domestic-sized cottage kitchens. He will bring his expertise in sourcing, managing and technique, and is looking forward to “learning as much as I can about the needs of aged care and residents with dementia and how to improve their lives through food.”

HammondCare’s record in food delivery includes winning the 2010 International Dementia Excellence Award for Pleasure in Eating as well Dr Judd’s challenge to the over-regulation of food delivery in aged care. He famously publicised the official, palette-numbing food safety requirement that in aged care facilities, eggs must be poached for 17 minutes at 62 degrees - “That’s not a poached egg; that’s kiln-fired organic pottery.”

As for Peter Morgan-Jones, when not cooking in an award-winning restaurant or being an aged care food ambassador, he’s just as likely to be at home with family, cracking a few free range eggs, adding tomato and ham, and whipping up a Sunday night omelette.

Some more about Peter: Born in Wales, he first developed a love of cooking aged 6 in his aunt’s kitchen after his father died. The family had a garden brimming with rhubarb, gooseberries, pears and more and he was soon entering award-winning pies in local competitions. His rags-to-riches story has seen him cooking pheasant for Prince Charles, sharing cups of tea with Princess Diana and more recently, being a consultant development chef for organic food providers and group executive chef for the Trippas White Group (Art Gallery NSW, Botanic Gardens, Pavillion etc).

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