People involved in preparing, cooking and serving food can often be the overlooked heroes of frontline care, but it is hard to find a more important role in catering than providing for our older generations. Let’s hear from some of them…
The Gloucestershire charity, Lilian Faithfull Care has over sixty catering staff in its five care homes and two day hubs, and they currently have job opportunities to join their teams.
Chester, Sous Chef at Faithfull House in Cheltenham, spent 12 years working in restaurants doing split shifts before he discovered working in care; “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 and all the important occasions.”
Chef Manager Jane explains, “It’s different cooking than in restaurants where it’s fast and furious working off tickets. We are busy here but we’re really organised and do a lot of preparation ahead so it’s so much calmer.”
Chester agrees; “It’s brutal [in restaurants], I actually have it good here. You feel very valued 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.”
Chester goes on to point out that there is also good career progression too; “It’s really good 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.”
Chester adds, “Also working for a charity they are good with support if you have family problems, they are flexible and happy to help.”
Jane explains, “I know what it’s like with young children so I always try and accommodate people’s requests.”
Jane started work as a carer before moving into catering and has spent the last 15 years working in care homes as head chef before coming to manage the catering team at Faithfull House. “The team here have been so welcoming and accommodating – some have been here over 30 years! If someone starts in our team and realises it’s not quite the right role for them we always try and find alternatives.”
Jane and Chester both appreciate the feedback they receive, “I go out of my way to see the residents – I think that is a really important side of the job.”
It is a real team effort in the kitchen. The ‘general assistants’ prep 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. These flexible roles not only enjoy time with the residents but they are also important in quietly monitoring how much people eat and drink to flag up any issues.
The skills of the chefs are on show everyday with different diets catered for; whether it is piping a meal for those find swallowing difficult or creating fabulous birthday cakes or putting on regular themed events and cheese and wine evenings.
However, the last word goes to Judy, a resident at Faithfull House…..“I think it’s excellent. There are lots of different things – it’s varied. I don’t know how to describe it but I always eat it! It’s absolutely excellent.”
To find out about the job opportunities currently available please contact their HR team on 01242 500415 or email HR@LFHgroup.co.uk