VintageBites icon for Whiddon's creative ageing program. The Cooking Club

A carer with residents baking in the kitchen as part of Whiddon's creative cooking program, VintageBites.

The Cooking Club is a creative cooking program that was developed, and is run exclusively, by Whiddon.

The Cooking Club, formerly known as Vintage Bites, is a Whiddon creative ageing program that was relaunched in September 2020 and ended in June 2021. The program encompasses cooking, food traditions, storytelling, nutrition and enjoying food together with friends. The program is run at many of our aged care homes and in our communities.

Inspired by the wonderful recipes that hold very special memories for residents across our care homes, we wanted to bring these to life and introduce a program that enables residents to cook again and try each other’s recipes.

Our inaugural Cooking Club program ran for a total of 10 months, and with selected care homes coming on board, we saw some wonderful dishes being created and heard beautiful stories along the way.

The program was a real partnership between the residents, leisure teams and catering teams, led by our chefs in our care homes. It involved working together to create the selected hero sweet and savoury recipes that each club cooked, which we handpicked by our Cooking Club Panel. We saw great teamwork and unity in our care homes as a result of this program.

What are the benefits of The Cooking Club?

Food is a huge and emotive subject for many people, and in particular, older people. It touches on many different areas of life and experiences, and is something many people connect deeply with.

Food brings together family and friends, culture, traditions and celebrations, and affects our health and quality of life. For many older people who are experiencing frailty or poor health, food can bring great comfort, as well as improving health and wellbeing through appropriate nutrition.

Food provides a platform for enjoyment and opportunities to celebrate and socialise; food also enables us to continue growing our skills, knowledge, experience and creativity at any age. The Cooking Club recognises the importance of food, cooking and enjoying a meal together and brings this together with our social cooking program.

We believe it’s never too late to pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill. For some of our residents who don’t have too much experience in the kitchen, this program is an opportunity to learn how to do different things in the kitchen while also learning new recipes all while connecting with others.

What Cooking activities does the program include?

  • Fun in the kitchen with cooking, baking and food crafts

  • Opportunities to learn new skills, and to share your skills with younger generations

  • New and different ways of celebrating special occasions and sharing food traditions

  • Opportunities to continue cooking, baking or enjoying food crafts when you live in residential care

  • A friendly environment for residents to show off their culinary skills and traditions passed down through their family.

  • Great ways to meet new people and make new friends, from fellow residents, to students from our participating schools.

  • New recipes to cook each time the group meets