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The OSCARS Recognition of Excellence: Lee Ruane

OSCAR Care Group industry award winner Lee Ruane

OSCAR Care Group is delighted to introduce Chef Lee Ruane from Yallambee and recipient of The OSCARS Recognition of Excellence program.

We recognise Lee’s fantastic strive for perfection through innovation. As a dedicated & friendly Chef, Lee works hard with his loyal team to create nutritious, restaurant-quality meals which are visually appealing for his residents at Yallambee Aged Care facility in Traralgon, Victoria.

Lee’s career has taken a culinary journey across Australia’s East Coast - but being Head Chef at Yallambee Aged Care was his destiny!

After completing High School in his hometown of Traralgon VIC, Lee did his Apprenticeship at Gippsland Tafe. He moved to Melbourne where he trained in fine dining restaurants, including Syracuse Wine Bar and Becco Restaurant, learning to strive in a stressful environment. After meeting his wife Laura who is a Nurse, they lived & worked in Noosa QLD before returning to Traralgon where Lee was a Café Chef for 6 years.

Inspired by his desire to spend more time with his young family, with Phillippa (10) & William (8), Lee joined the Yallambee team in 2019. Lee now has the pleasure of cooking for his beloved Nan, a resident at Yallambee, who Lee describes as “99 years young & sharp as an axe!”

One Team, One Dream

Achieving his goal of Head Chef at Yallambee meant that Lee needed not only exceptional culinary skills, but also needed to lead and inspire his diverse team with HR, budgeting, food safety & Aged Care dietetics knowledge. He is always looking forward and has an open-door policy!

Lee reminds his team regularly, “We are in our Resident’s home, but we can bring the outside world to them. Each day we aim to provide the quality and presentation of a restaurant experience to the elderly in our care; it’s what they deserve.”

Lee Ruane and team at Yallambee

Lee’s Innovations

1. Yallambee Cafe

Lee and his team have enhanced the Yallambee Café once run by a dedicated volunteer team. It is now an appealing dining destination with high quality food and a trained coffee barista for Village residents, their visitors and local groups. Yallambee Aged Care residents are given the unique option of having their daily meals in the café, like going to a restaurant in their memories of life before entering the facility.

2. Technology

Lee wanted a sophisticated, reliable and time-saving method of accurately recording temperatures to ensure food safety. He worked with OSCAR Care Group to install the OSCAR Temperature Monitoring System

3. Food Presentation

The team believes that great aroma & presentation are essential for elderly consumers, and they garnish every meal. In making these decisions, Lee and his team follow his motto, “Don’t tell people what you can’t do – tell them what you CAN!”.

Lee’s Signature Recipe, Fresh Buffalo & Mozzarella Caprasi Recipe

Lee’s Signature Recipe

Fresh Buffalo & Mozzarella Caprasi Recipe

This Recipe was passed to Lee from his Aunt Anne Badger, a foodie & philanthropist, who serves it at Christmas. Lee has delighted hundreds of customers with it – including actor Nicholas Cage!


4 vine-ripened trussed Hydroponic Tomatoes

3 fresh pieces of Italian Buffalo Mozzarella

1 Bunch of fresh, in-season Basil

A good Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

A good aged Balsamic Vinegar

Seasonal Australian Avocado (optional)


  1. Remove stem of Tomato & keep for Garnish. Gently with a sharp knife slice Tomato to approximately 4 ml thick.

  2. Place on Flat Plate of your Choosing and lightly sprinkle with Sea Salt.

  3. Pick Basil leaf by Leaf and place on top of Sliced Tomato.

  4. Rip Buffalo Mozzarella into pieces 1cm by cm and add to the top of basil (Add Avocado at this point if desired).

  5. Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar and finish with Salt and Pepper.

  6. Serve to Order – or as guests arrive to create effect and Talking point. Enjoy!


Lee Ruane, You’re AMAZING!


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