Job title Head Chef
Working at the Almshouses: Since 2012
1. What does your job entail?
Cooking three meals a day plus snacks for the people who live in Jubilee House. I also cook lunches for the Day Care Centre and meals-on-wheels for people in the Very Sheltered Flats.
2. What were you doing before you came to the Almshouses?
I went to university first and did a degree in Chemical and Process Engineering but all the time I was doing it, I felt I’d made the wrong choice. I wanted to do something creative and ‘hands on’ and so I got into cooking and found I loved it.
I’ve worked for Woodbridge School as a chef since 2005 but have only been Head Chef at the Almshouses since February 2012.
3. What was your first day like?
It was very different from producing over 1,000 meals every day at Woodbridge School! I remember on the first day I got a message that “Arnold had ordered a jacket potato”. I had no idea who Arnold was or how he was liked his jacket potato – but now I know!
4. What do you most enjoy about your work at the Almshouses?
I love the cooking! It’s very important to get the food right for people who live here – this is their home. At Woodbridge School, I was 2nd chef and it was very hectic but there were a lot of staff. I have fewer staff here – so I’ve got more responsibility but in a smaller place with less people to provide for.
5. What impact do you think your work is having?
People enjoy my meals and I get a lot of compliments. Balanced nutrition is important and we’ve put a lot of time into creating menus that are both nutritious and appetising. I quickly get to know if something I’ve cooked has gone down well and likewise if it is not liked at all and I like this personal interaction with the people – its adds a special dimension to my work.
6. What sort of training have you had?
I have completed my NVQ in Catering – Food Service and Presentation
7. What changes have you seen during your time at the Almshouses?
Before I was appointed, they’d conducted a survey on the meals and as a result came up with a series of new menus offering greater variety. I was appointed to implement these new menus and to use fresh, local produce wherever possible.
8. What about the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I would like to run my own place.
9. What is the nicest thing anyone has said to you about your work at the Almshouses?
One person who lives here mentioned after the New Year’s Day lunch that the steak and ale pie I had cooked was the best she’d ever had.