My testimony

My testimony.


My name is Eric van Reenen I have been working  35 years with food and beverage, 30 years in health care and most of it in Frankeland in Schiedam.

Frankeland is one of the leading healthcare facilities in the Netherlands and the medical Delta. We are specialized in the elderly care.


Food and beverage is one of the most important pillars of primary care in the Frankelandgroep.

The kitchen of Frankeland  caters for four locations, they are  St. Jacobs Gasthuis, Vaartland, Schiewaegh and Frankeland itself. We cook daily meals a total of 850 with choice of different components.


As Frankeland group we have a vision to prepare tasty, healthy and safe meals. The connection to the guests (residents) is of great importance. You can find us regularly on the different floors talking with the residents and the healthcare professionals.


This vision was not clear on the first day. As kitchen brigade  we already worked hard to make a difference, we are regularly organizing culinary foods to celebrate the Dutch day of healthcare, organizing culinary dinners, BBQ’s and theme parties, these are just a few examples of possibilities that we have addressed to show what we can achieve.


We have wishes
As the Frankeland group we find personal contact very important. Not only with residents, but also with our colleagues in the healthcare sector. This way we can understand exactly what our colleagues have to deal with and how we, as a kitchen brigade, can help in certain circumstances. Although we were getting a good vision, I was very pleased to have come in contact with the Center for Gastrology in Leuven. During the summer course ‘ Essences of Gastro-engineering ‘, I discovered that we have  lacked  on ‘ evidence based practice ‘: the sum of current, scientific knowledge, experiential knowledge by nurses and caretakers, preferences of the resident and available resources.

With his enthusiasm, passion, inspiration and founder of the Center for Gastrology, Mister Edwig Goossens, it came to my understanding, that there are many more possibilities for the individual wishes and needs of the client and malnutrition of the elderly. And not only that, as chefs in the elderly and healthcare, we have a mission that our work matters and can make the difference. To stand up for our elderly and healthcare clients and the demise of the kitchens.


It is known that when you reach the age of 70 there is a decrease in perception of taste and decrease of olfactory perception.  This is a natural phenomenon. Also by certain drug use or radiation treatments which can seriously disrupt these sensations. With a simple test of the o-box (a box full of natural taste and smell sensations) we can discover where the taste sensation are diminished. With this data we can adjust the individual meals and as a result of that we can bring back the personal sensation balance.

This will allow the meal to be tasty again and will decrease the risk of malnutrition.


Because of this there will be no more need for all kinds of  nutrition supplemental. To activate  this plan there is training required (with valid certificate) for the proper use of this “test” box. Of course, the chefs must also be trained to interpret the information correctly into the meals.


The next step we have taken was an in-company training of Gastrology for 6 day’s, the topics discussed were very interesting and resulted in an increase of enthusiasm by the kitchen brigade.


The cooperation with health care.

Cooperation with healthcare is essential. After all, they’re  responsible  for the intake of our meals. It is important to find out the B.M.I score’s from new patients. This is the starting point. By regular measuring they’re body weight and pay close attention to the intake, we can avoid malnutrition in many cases.

Practice days:

At the practice days we  experienced the importance of established recipes. So many different dishes with the same ingredients was a surprised to us. You simply can’t reproduce the same high-quality meals every day without a clear description and recipes. Mention the method of preparation in addition to the recipe is also of great importance.

the Gastro-chef  told us this about 100 times that day. And I want to take a moment to thank him for his patience with this. Yes we are cocky in a good way.

The second day we applied the code T3AVC and the ABC analysis, in practice . We found out that the preference and  taste of the resident’s likes are not necessarily similar  to the preference and good taste of the Cook. We have realized that we cook for our residents and their taste determines our output. (outcome)?

Next steps

For the coming period the kitchen team will update the recipes according to European model and describe the method of preparing. So there will be a turning point in the way we work.. We have already begun seeking out residents with personal problems and we have been able to help various residents with malnutrition.

At a later stage we will need to connect to healthcare and make the gastrological  approach complete.

There is still a lot of work to do, but we see that everyone is very excited about it. Even our healthcare, the Executive Board, the kitchen brigade  and also some vendors. But especially our residents, who already notice a big change. And this is our main goal. 

Sharing knowledge with our twinning partner and help each other in this process is essential.

We have to work together! that is the key word. 


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