Quebec says it wants to take better care of its elderly – and it's starting with food.

Health Minister Gaetan Barrette announced on Monday a new partnership between the province and Montreal’s hospitality school, Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec.

“Those residents in our long-term care facilities have access to food they like, prepared and presented in the proper way,” said Barrette.

Meals will be prepared with Montreal's cultural diversity in mind; as many as 40 new menus are in the works.

“Forty menus, 40 recipes that will be adapted to the Asian community, Mediterranean community and Caribbean community,” he said.

The ITHQ on St. Denis St. is Canada's largest school specializing in tourism, hospitality and food service.

“The number one pleasure, because we eat three times a day, is to eat and to enjoy what we're eating,” said ITHQ director general Liza Fulla.

Research into the new menus has begun, said Frulla, and the needs of the elderly are being carefully considered.

“To make sure that everything is standardized, balanced. And we're talking about textured and not textured food. So it has to have the appeal, the taste, but even if it's not textured,” she said,

A year ago, Barrette made promises about improving food in the province's long-term care centres, saying there were complaints about quality and texture.

“Frankly, they were right,” he said.

The 72 new menus promised back then, he said, will be served to residents by the spring.

“We knew things needed to get better,” he said,

Dr. Pierre Gfeller, who manages 12 residences in the northern part of the city through the CIUSSS said the new ethnic menus are very welcome.

“Fifty per cent of the people who live on our territory, CIUSSS du Nord-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, were born outside of Canada, and they will grow old,” he said.

The government says the new ethnic recipes will be ready to sample in long-term care centres within a year.

It's spending $100,000 on the partnership, saying the institute has the expertise needed.

“They will have, as of now, the mandate to reach out to those communities, patients, family, users of any sort, to determine exactly what they would like to have on their plate,” he said.