Head Chef at Cheshire Grange Care Home, Mandy Glindon, actually started her career in care as a Care Assistant. However, after working in the kitchens for a few shifts, she discovered that she really enjoyed the environment and made the career change to being in the kitchen full time. And 25 years later, we’re just as glad as she is that she did!
Mandy looks back on her time at Barchester, “Being a chef is such a satisfying job, especially in a care home. I started working in Brookfield Care Home in 1987 and when Cheshire Grange opened in 2012, I was thrilled to go and join their team. I’ve had a lot of support in completing my qualifications; I spent time at the Barchester Chef Academy and achieved all the NVQs I needed to become a Head Chef.”
A Barchester Chef has to have a wide variety of skills, from being dedicated to making wholesome, nutritious food for a diverse range of tastes and diets to managing stock, leading a team and planning menus – and then there’s the all-important interaction with residents and their families.
Not only is Mandy committed to cooking exceptional food, but also making meal times an enjoyable experience: “There are lots of aspects to my role, but my favourite is cooking things like birthday cakes or a good old-fashioned roast. The residents love our weekly roast and it always creates a great atmosphere.”
“We put on lots of themed nights, like Italian or Indian, and also celebrate different days, such as St Patrick’s Day; this year we made a delicious Guinness cake!”
As residents’ individual needs change, it’s crucial that chefs are able to adapt to dietary requirements. Mandy explains, “We have lots of modified diets, but everyone still eats with their eyes so we’re always thinking of creative ways to present the food.
“Barchester hosted a really exciting course on different methods of cooking and we learned how to sous vide – it was really interesting and the meat was so tasty and tender. We start using this method in November and I can’t wait!”
Mandy has cooked or supervised approximately 250,000 meals during her Barchester career – a massive achievement. She talks about her accomplishment, “That is a lot of food! We pride ourselves on having traceable, fresh products to produce delicious meals each resident will enjoy. How can you not love cooking when our residents get so much joy from their meals?”