We have heard many times from the #FairKitchens community that it’s important to show the variety of career paths on offer in our industry, to attract new talent and to keep the talent we already have.
There’s value and joy to be found in any sector, and what matters is finding the path that’s right for you.
We’re kicking off a series of articles that will shine a light on different sectors in turn – starting with four Care UK chefs.
“I love seeing the joy my food brings” Anna Sudak, Head Chef at Montford Manor care home
“When I first came to England from Poland, I worked as a carer for ten years before retraining as a chef. Years later, when I was working at a hotel, the opportunity came up to apply for the Head Chef position at the care home and I just knew I wanted it. I loved caring for people, I loved cooking, and now I get to do both.
“We get to serve the food ourselves and it makes my day to see how happy the residents are with the meal. Last summer I was like let’s get a barbecue, and when we had our first party in the garden, seeing the residents sat with a glass of wine, it was priceless.”
“Every day you make a real difference in the resident’s lives” Teresa Ellis, Head Chef at Sandfields care home
“I joined the care sector after a career in industrial kitchens and contract catering, so when I started I didn’t know whether I would enjoy it or not. But I love it!
“You build up connections with residents as you chat with them about the dishes they’d like. We once had a Spanish resident who wanted a specific dish for breakfast that she could remember having as a child. We had no idea what it was but googled it, and it turned out it was a type of doughnut. We ended up making it for her, and it was really special to recreate that memory for her.”
“You have freedom over menus and get to put your heart and soul into it” Debbie Moran, Head Chef at Davers Court care home
“I started my career in care, but over my 30 years in the sector I’ve also worked in contract catering, restaurants, private schools and corporate events. I didn’t want to stay in one area as there was just so much to learn.
“In the care sector you’re free to deliver a little bit more if you’ve got the flair and the passion. We get residents involved in planning meals and change our menus with the seasons, involving the on-site team in the process. We sit down and talk about their ideas, what they’d like to see, what they loved when they were younger. We can put a twist on things too.”
“We’re able to offer a good work-life balance” James Clear, Hotel Services Manager at Care UK
“Working late nights or split shifts is almost never necessary in care homes and we also have occasional weekends off. In other areas of hospitality most of the time the shifts are split shifts. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that’s all chefs can do – but it doesn’t have to be like that.”
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