Covid-19 has changed the way of life for many of us in the Catering & Hospitality industry in a whole host of ways. As we all know, restaurants, pubs and hotels have had to remain closed for such a long time and the effects are still being felt as we slowly start to re-open and edge nearer to the end of the third National Lockdown. Many businesses have had to adjust, some closed, roles have altered and ultimately jobs have been sadly lost. Now, more than ever, key workers have come to the forefront and have remained steadfast in keeping things going during these strange times.
One such example is in the Care sector, where cooks and chefs have continued to help homes run smoothly throughout. If you’re looking for work or considering a change in direction, care home catering could be your next career.
Care Home Sizes
It is reported that we have over 400,000 older people currently in care/ residential homes in the UK. Care and residential homes must of course remain open 365 days per year, pandemic or no pandemic, and provide help and support for our elderly and vulnerable, meaning care home cooks and chefs are in demand all year long.
With such a large number of people in care, there is a whole host of homes all varying in size and the type of residents they work with. As a care home chef, your working days can also vary in terms of shifts and rotas. Usually there will be a breakfast, lunch and tea service but as every home will work differently, it means there could be the perfect fit for you and what you’re looking for!
In a smaller home, you may find yourself working alone in the kitchen. If there is a higher number of residents, you may be part of a bigger kitchen team. These residential chef roles tend to enjoy steady hours with no split-shifts compared to other areas of the catering world, which may be a good choice if you have a family to consider or you don’t necessarily want to be working late nights.
Set hours and the possibility of regular and ongoing work during the typical seasonal ‘lows’, often seen in some areas of the catering industry, are all great benefits alongside the sense of belonging that being part of a home’s ‘family’ can bring.
The residents and their families will get to know you as a member of the team which opens lines of communication, much more so than in other kitchen environments, and this can be a really rewarding aspect of the role. You may find that many care home residents have special or different dietary requirements. The standard service may need multiple variations for each meal. Diabetic, gluten-free, lactose-free requirements or those residents needing a softer meal; these may all influence the meal planning that has to take place.
Working in an environment with elderly people means they can be high risk to many viruses and bacteria, not just to the recent introduction of Covid-19. Ensuring you are following the highest health and safety procedures is of utmost importance in this type of role.
As well as preparing and cooking the meals, you may be responsible for managing and ordering supplies, menu creation and ensuring the kitchen and equipment meets all safety standards. In a large residential home, there may be multiple chefs to cover and assist with the various dietary needs, but depending on the individual home, you may have to spread yourself over quite a few different areas.
In a restaurant or pub environment, each customer is of course important; but they are usually ‘faceless’ when you’re working in the kitchen. When catering in a care home environment, the residents become your ‘regular’ customers who you will encounter and cook for on a daily basis. Compared to hospitals or restaurants, this setting gives you the opportunity to talk to residents and get their feedback.
As a care home cook, you will be seen as part of the family within the home, and to some residents, you will be a friendly face to them. You’ll not only gain different dimensions to your working day, but build great relationships with your customers to truly be the best care home cook for them.
Let’s kickstart you career
If you like the idea of interacting more with the people you are cooking for, have a good grounding in cookery, are personable and knowledgeable, then this could be a great Care home Chef in Kent role to consider.
Want to find out more? Take a look at our current roles at https://www.26recruitment.co.uk/jobs or call to speak to us on 03330 143031.
As the world continues to open-up and we can all enjoy a long-awaited beer garden visit, we wish you all the very best for the coming months and don’t forget to get in touch, we look forward to speaking with you.