Hospitality and Catering Jobs
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Working in a care home as a Chef can be quite different to some other catering positions but is still an enjoyable and satisfying place to work. The hours are more sociable than a public restaurant and you may have the opportunity to get to know the residents. Care home Chef jobs can be a very rewarding experience, whether it’s a short term temporary position or a permanent job.
In general, working in a care home kitchen means being part of a small team preparing and serving meals to the residents of the home. You need to be aware of good nutrition and be able to cater for special dietary requirements, which are more common among the older community.
Care home kitchens tend to be smaller than in other institutions, so with fewer staff members, as the Chef you can expect your role to involve many tasks. As well as preparing and cooking the meals you may be responsible for managing and ordering the supplies, menu creation and ensuring the kitchen and equipment meets all health and safety requirements.
When looking for a job as a care home Chef or Cook you should have some previous experience working in a commercial kitchen and ideally have a qualification such as an NVQ in food preparation or cooking. You need to know how to adapt meals to make them suitable for residents with different dietary needs and be skilled at creating healthy balanced meals for everyone.
Working in a care home requires some specific qualities not always needed by Chefs in other environments. You will be preparing food for the same people every day in the place that is their home, so unlike in a busy restaurant you will possibly see and speak to the residents on a daily basis, so you need to have good communication skills and be sensitive to the challenges that some of the people may face.
Care home catering staff are required to have a valid enhanced DBS dated within the last 12 months and most positions will need you to have a Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate dated within the last 3 years.
Working as a Chef in a care home is ideal for someone who enjoys cooking and has a compassionate nature. If you like to interact more with the people you are cooking for, as well as the kitchen team you are working with, then a care home Chef job is a good choice for you. Working in a care home environment means steady hours and set shifts so this could be a good choice for people with a family or anyone who doesn’t like working late nights, but there will be weekend work which is usually on a rota basis.
One of the advantages of working as a care home Chef is that you will have a set schedule and dinner service is usually finished at a sociable hour. There is some scope for creativity in a care home kitchen and working in a smaller environment gives you the opportunity to talk to the residents and staff to get their feedback which you can use in creating nutritious meals that you know they will enjoy.
Read our blog “Cooking up Christmas in a Care Home” to get insight from a Blue Arrow Chef about working in a care home.