About The Lantern Project

The Lantern Project - Australia

The Lantern Project was founded in 2013 by Dr Cherie Hugo, an Accredited Practising Dietitian with nearly 20 years' experience in private practice, director of My Nutrition Clinic and PhD focused on Quantifying the Value of Nutrition in Aged Care. Cherie and her My Nutrition Clinic team consults to aged care homes in Queensland and New South Wales and are passionate about ensuring aged care residents are well nourished and excited about eating.

Good food should be the highlight of the day for aged care residents but sometimes it falls short of expectations. The Lantern Project was started as a way to explore and illuminate ways to further improve the food and dining experience for residents. The Lantern collaboration is a diverse mix of aged care stakeholders with the shared goal to improve the quality of life of aged care residents through the joy of good food.

The Lantern Project now has over 1200 collaborative members across Australia and internationally with many aged care organisations, peak industry bodies, allied health, researchers and resident advocates involved. The collaboration meets on a monthly basis (the first Friday of each month) focusing on key priority areas and actively welcomes new members to join in the conversation.

The project has a research arm and has 11 papers currently published and under review demonstrating the positive impact of taking a food-focused approach to resident care. The project has 3 working groups currently underway around the areas of Dining Experience, Legal and Quality Food Issues and Food Activities Connecting Generations.

There are regular student projects included, the most recent being the Lantern Aged Care Food Safari which culminated in 14 videos showing "Little Things" (cost neutral, novel changes in food service that have demonstrated big, positive impact on the lives of residents).

The combined action-based research, working groups and national collaboration of The Lantern Project together work to demonstrate simple ways to meet the vision of improving older Australian's quality of life through the joy of food. These learnings are shared to assist in shaping changes in aged care regulation through the project's involvement on the Australian Aged Care Quality Standards Guidance Reference Group, the Australian Aged Care Workforce IRC's Nutrition and Mealtime Experience Technical Advisory Committee and in an advisory capacity to government.


Our purpose is to shine the light on the issue of food in aged care using good old-fashioned fresh, local produce, involving the wisdom of our older residents (some have been cooking for more than 80 years) and do this in a collaborative way.

The lantern shines in all directions. To develop relevant solutions we need to draw on the wisdom of as diverse a collective of experts associated with aged care to develop novel ways to improve our residents' lives through great food.


To improve the quality of life of older Australians through good food and nutrition.


Objective 1 – To facilitate and support a National Community of Practice around Aged Care Food, Nutrition and Mealtime Experience
Objective 2 – Continue to progress action-based research and research translation

Objective 3 – Recognise and reward excellence through Aged Care EpiCURE ratings
Objective 4 – Advocate policy change to focus on the Aged Care Food, Nutrition and Mealtime Experience
Objective 5 – To empower aged care staff through education, training and resources
Objective 6 – To engage and empower residents and families in food decisions
Objective 7 – To assist industry to access local, quality food supplies



  • Dr Cherie Hugo - Accredited Practising Dietitian, Director of My Nutrition Clinic, Founder of The Lantern Project
  • Nick Ryan FAICD - CEO, Lutheran Services Australia, Lantern Senior Policy Advisor
  • Bernadette Dutton - Speech Pathologist, Loqui Speech Pathology
  • Ivan Zrinscak - Customer Experience Design/Human Centred Design, ACH Head of Hospitality
  • Colin McDonnell - Dementia and Wellbeing Consultant, Calvary Care
  • Sandra Gilbert - Aged Care Educator and Dementia Consultant.
  • Monique Pockran - National Independent Living Consultant, Leef
  • Angela Malberg - Accredited Practising Dietitian, Community Care Specialist, Nutrition Assist
  • Loretta Reiken - Chef Consultant, Dignity in Dining
  • Gabrielle Thoreau - Food Safety Consultant




  • Ita Buttrose AO - Ambassador for Alzheimer's Australia
  • Glenn Rees - former CEO Alzheimer's Australia
  • Dr Chris Del Mar - Bond University
  • Bond University
  • My Nutrition Clinic
  • Loqui Speech Pathology
  • Hotel Services Management Solutions
  • Tibor's Kitchen
  • Flavour Creations
  • Nutrition Australia
  • Comcater
  • Soil to Supper
  • Dementia Training Australia
  • Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
  • Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA)
  • Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA)
  • Aged Care Guild
  • DAA