Catering careers in care homes
By Sarah Wood
A career in catering doesn't have to mean working in restaurants. Catering staff are essential to care homes.
Lilian Faithfull Care, which has six care homes in Cheltenham and Stroud, said people involved in preparing, cooking and serving food in care homes can often be the overlooked heroes.
A spokesperson for the charity said: "It is hard to find a more important role in catering than providing for our older generations."
Lilian Faithfull Care has around 75 catering staff working across its care homes.
Chester joined three years ago, and has recently been promoted to chef manager, from sous chef, working at Faithfull House in Cheltenham. He spent 12 years working in restaurants, doing split shifts, before he discovered working in care.
Chester said: "If I knew this place existed, I wouldn't have worked all the years in restaurants. The hours here suit me. I've got young kids, so now I get to spend time with them. Since being here, I get to celebrate Valentines, Christmas, birthdays and all the important occasions at home.
"Working for a charity, they are good with support. If you have family problems, they are flexible and happy to help."
Chester said there is good career progression working as a chef in the care sector.
He continued: "It's really good with all the courses we get here - food hygiene and NVQs. One of the trainee chefs here started as a general assistant and got promotion after they got an NVQ.
"I've enjoyed learning about all the nutritional side of things, which you don't understand until you come here.
"It's brutal in restaurants, its different cooking here. It's busy, but we're really organised and do lots of preparation ahead.
"You feel very valued here and Lilian Faithfull are always investing in the food and their staff. We always cook with fresh meat and veg and it hasn't budged on quality."
It is a real team effort in the care home kitchens. The general assistants prepare all the fresh veg, as well as doing a variety of different roles to support the chefs. The food and beverage assistants serve the residents. They get to enjoy time with the residents and are also important in quietly monitoring how much people eat and drink to flag up any issues.
The skills of the charity's chefs are on show everyday - with different diets catered for - such as piping a meal for those who find swallowing difficult, creating fabulous birthday cakes and putting on regular themed events.
To find out more about working in catering for Lilian Faithfull Care, visit the website.
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