10 Questions with... Neel Radia
Each issue, we ask an industry professional the Tomorrow’s Care 10 Questions. This month, we caught up with Neel Radia, National Chairman of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC).
to those cooking the meals, but also to the delivery of the meals by care staff. The topic of choking risk is high on the agenda at the moment.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Passionate, creative, perfectionist.
What was your first job? My first job was when I was 16
whilst studying at college. I worked for Topman Retail on a part-time basis. After graduating at 21, I worked full- time at Walt Disney World in Florida.
How did you get into the care industry?
I first got into the care industry in 2005 when I joined my current employer Raj Foods, which supplies Halal meals to the health and social care sector.
What is the biggest challenge facing the care
industry today? Care home caterers face several challenges but a main one at present is a lack of awareness around malnutrition and dehydration. There is also little to no understanding about areas such as dysphagia, texture modified meals and food intolerances, and how to provide meals for residents with such specific requirements in a safe setting. This does not only relate
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If you could give your past self one piece of advice,
what would it be? Patience is a virtue. We all spend time rushing projects but sometimes you have to let these things take their course to flourish.
If you could be a fly on the wall anywhere in the world,
where would it be? At one of The Beatles concerts in the summer of 1966 in the USA. I love their music and would love to have experienced it live. I was not around at that time and so missed out on a great era – and a great show.
What would be your first record of choice on Desert
Island Discs? ‘I should be so lucky’ by Kylie Minogue... only joking! For me it would have to be ‘Drops of Jupiter’ by Train. It’s a special song that holds good memories of my time shared with friends when I worked at Disney World.
Which three guests, dead or alive, would you invite to your
ultimate dinner party, and why? I would invite Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition politician, and Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian Independence Movement in British-ruled India. I admire the fact they never spoke about or acted badly towards anyone who did them wrong, but instead let their faith and values guide them to doing what was right.
The third person would be Allen R. ‘Al’ Weiss, Past President of World Wide Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend one of his seminars back in 2000 and I was inspired by his ethos, leadership skills and vision.
What do you think the future holds for the care industry?
With a rising older population in the UK, care home provisions will be on the increase in the future. It is therefore imperative that we get it right from the start and that the importance of good nutrition and hydration and its delivery is understood and effectively implemented, together with how to provide meals in a safe and dignified way.
There is much more information available today than there was five years ago, which really helps us to raise the standards of care catering. It is an honour to be part of an association that provides care providers with a platform to learn, engage and share resources to help set standards for the future of care catering.
Would you rather have the ability to be invisible
or have X-ray vision? Definitely be invisible because then you still have your other senses to see and hear what’s happening behind closed doors.
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