Food for thought

TAKE FIVE CHEFS AND A MEASURE OF ENCOURAGEMENT. Five of our chefs who have either completed, or are following, apprenticeships. From left: Matt Jerrard, Izabela Turczyn-Kuzma, Lorna Parsons, Annabell Bryer and Jemelle Alolor.

Wholesome, well-balanced and joyful eating is an essential part of the care we provide every day.

To create homemade meals that appeal to our residents and visitors we depend on the skills and imagination of our chefs.

Each has the freedom to develop recipes based on listening to residents’ preferences and discussing ideas. In return, the feedback from satisfied customers is a true morale booster.

For Fergus Davitt, our Hotel Services Manager, the secret to a happy and dedicated catering team is encouragement.

“We always look out for people’s potential,” he says. “We want everyone in the team to know they can develop their careers with us. Colten Care offers that opportunity. You can start as a kitchen porter and work your way up to manage a department. If you show us your commitment we will facilitate apprenticeship training through our contacts in catering college so you can gain qualifications as well as experience.”

It’s a policy that works. Twenty-five of the 40 chefs employed at Colten Care homes have been with us for more than 12 years.

One of them, Lorna Parsons, had a part-time job washing dishes before becoming our first catering apprentice at The Bournemouth & Poole College.

HAVE YOUR CAKE: Lorna Parsons our first catering apprentice at The Bournemouth & Poole College

HAVE YOUR CAKE: Lorna Parsons our first catering apprentice at The Bournemouth & Poole College

After qualifying with her NVQ Level 3 she became second chef at Belmore Lodge in Lymington and now heads the ten-strong kitchen team at Amberwood House in Ferndown. She has also been enabled to take an additional patisserie and cake decoration course, so enhancing her culinary skills even further.

Lorna, who was recently shortlisted for a national care sector award, has even been joined at Colten Care by younger sister Annabell Bryer who is in chef training at Avon Reach in Mudeford.

“I’ve been with Colten Care for 15 years,” says Lorna. “The company has supported me with training and promotion all the way through and I have a great deal of job satisfaction. Because food choice is such a personal thing, we get to know our residents really well. When we welcome a new resident, we always do our best to understand their likes and dislikes. As a Head Chef, I am also responsible for all aspects of ordering and kitchen management so every day is different.”

Lorna’s views are echoed by colleague Izabela Turczyn-Kuzma whose ten years in the catering team involved time as an apprentice. She is currently working as a chef at Avon Reach where her responsibilities include training for Annabell.

Izabela says: “The best feeling is when you have positive feedback with people saying how lovely their meal was. I’ve had people say, ‘That was the best meal I’ve ever had’. I think our residents do appreciate our hard work.”

Our starring role in prestigious awards

Fergus Davitt Reflecting our focus on the highest standards of catering, Colten Care continues to play a starring role in two of the South of England’s most prestigious foods awards.

As we have done in previous years, we are the headline sponsor of both the Taste of Dorset and Hampshire Life Food & Drink awards.

We host launch events, provide input to judging and have twice run in-house recipe competitions that help residents, relatives and team members celebrate our sponsorship activities.

Fergus Davitt, our Hotel Services Manager, adds: “It’s natural for us to want to promote excellence in cooking. Our support for our chefs, and our involvement with the food awards, both testify to that.”

Three key principles

Hand PickedAll the meals in our homes are created according to a ‘handpicked’ philosophy guided by three key principles:

  • Handpicked, best quality ingredients in homemade recipes developed around residents’ preferences
  • Handpicked suppliers, sourced locally wherever possible, chosen for their quality and taste of produce
  • Handpicked staff selected for their dedication and passion for both care and food.

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