News & Events

Yvonne cooks up a storm at Braeside Park

April 8, 2020

Yvonne Cramer loves the kitchen set up at OCAV’s Braeside Park village. It’s more of a community space where staff and residents enjoy mealtimes and less of a serving area. As one of the village’s cooks Yvonne feels like meals are a family affair for the village and not just a place to prepare food, or eat food and go.

“Residents come in for their breakfast and lunch and it’s a very social gathering time, especially lunch. It isn’t just about serving them food, its also about being part of their day and I love it,” Yvonne said.

Yvonne began work at Braeside Park eight years ago because it was closer to home than the Dutch residential facility she worked at for the previous 12 years.

“I have changed a lot as I have got older. When I worked at Dutch Care I  was asked to train to be a personal care attendant, but I didn’t want to get too involved with the residents. Now I love it and I do get emotionally attached – it’s very hard not to,” Yvonne said.

“I loved this place from the minute I came for my job interview eight years ago. It was the caring and respectful culture of the village that really affected me.”

“I think I have learned a lot over the years from our residents. I’m always struck by how hard these people have worked through their lives and how positive they try and be.”

Yvonne works part time cooking lunch and a light supper for residents living in the apartments and those living in the independent units who might be unwell or need some support. At the moment she is cooking for 16 people. Residents gather in the community kitchen for lunch and take their light supper to have in their rooms of an evening.

Yvonne and senior staff work out the menu a week in advance and order everything in fresh. Sundays or Thursdays are always roast meat with lots of vegetables, which the residents love.

“We plan food that is nutritious and also what the residents like to eat. As well we have to ensure that any dietary requirements are taken into account,” she said.

Throughout the year the kitchen benefits from the village’s vegetable garden, especially with summer tomatoes. At the moment silverbeet from the garden makes a regular appearance on the menu.

Yvonne, who was born in Holland, says the menu has an Australian flavor, reflecting what people want, but when it comes to desserts such as apple cake residents can rely on a Dutch ‘twist’ to the cooking.


Volunteering is important to Deb, enabling her to contribute in the aged care sector. “I love it when the residents get downright cheeky. I love it when we get a bit too loud with laughing."

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