An interview with Head Chef Roddy


Roddy Mackinnon, the Head Chef at Scoonie House in Fife, was crowned the winner of Aria Care’s inaugural Chef of the Year competition last October. Here, Roddy tells us about the importance of good nutrition and hydration.

How long have you worked at Scoonie House?

I’ve worked at Scoonie House for 10 and a half years.

Can you share your career background? Have you always been a chef?

My culinary journey spans five decades, primarily in hotel settings like the Murraypark hotel in Crieff. I’ve also worked with the NHS, Sodexo, and various restaurants.

How do you plan menus for a balanced and nutritious diet for the residents?

Menus are crafted by considering residents’ preferences and incorporating vegetables for balance. Specials like the ‘dish of the day’ and weekly favourites, such as Chip Shop Day, are included.

How do you address specific dietary needs and restrictions?

The kitchen is informed of dietary needs in daily meetings, and all menus include allergen information.

How do you keep meals interesting for residents through menu variety?

I aim for variety using traditional methods, diverse cuisines, and incorporating different herbs and spices.

What strategies do you use to encourage residents to stay hydrated throughout the day?

We offer WaterAde vitamin drinks, smoothies, ice lollies, and high-water meals, with options like tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and fruit available all day.

How do you adapt hydration plans for those with difficulty drinking independently?

We provide drinking aids, texture modified foods, and have specialised cutlery. The team supports residents with eating and drinking challenges.

How do you create a positive dining experience for residents?

At Scoonie house we offer different seasonal culinary days working with the national food day themes. We join the tables together and serve cakes. We play background music and encourage conversation between the team and the residents which makes for an enjoyable dining experience.

Can you provide examples of menu adaptations based on resident feedback or changing nutritional needs?

I incorporate resident’s preferences into the menu, following the hospitality from the heart nutrition and hydration framework to create our three-week seasonal menus.

How do you collaborate with healthcare professionals to meet residents’ nutritional needs?

My team collaborates with the care team, dieticians and medical professionals to ensure residents’ additional needs are met effectively.

Find out more about Aria Care’s hospitality offering here: Hospitality – Aria Care