Being a chef at a care home has many challenges. Creating delicious food for the more worldly-wise amongst us, whilst providing them with all the nutrients and vitamins required later on in life being the main one.
So we’ve made it our mission to not only provide food for function in The Orangery restaurant at Foxholes care home in Hertfordshire, but to make it taste excellent too.
Our head chef, Manuel, who has been with us for 3 years, has been the key driver behind our culinary prowess. Here, Manuel explains how we create food that’s nutritionally excellent and also tastes great, whilst sharing some of his major inspirations.
Meet Manuel – Head Chef at Foxholes Care Home
Manuel began his career in Venezuela in South America, where he grew up with his family. And this is where he began to cook, watching his grandmother and his mother cook for the family and being inspired to follow in their footsteps, learning the many tricks and ‘family secrets’ that are passed down through generations.
Through this, Manuel’s passion for cooking really developed, and he spent time absorbing as much information as he could, perfecting his flourishes and learning about the nuances of the culinary world, before going on to study the art of cooking in a professional capacity.
What type of food do you cook for the residents?
Although predominantly inspired by South American cuisine, Manuel’s dish choices take a more holistic approach, seeking inspiration from many countries around the world to provide a wholesome, varied menu for the residents at Foxholes Care Home.
Combining the traditional dishes of British culture such as the Friday favourite, Fish and Chips, along with cuisine from his heritage such as high protein dishes containing lots of flavoursome meats and the lesser-known pasta, for which Venezuela is the second most recognised country in the world for).
Venezuelan Cuisine takes much inspiration from European dishes and heritage, which is predominantly used throughout Manuel’s cooking, with many odes to Italian and Spanish flavours used.
How do you approach food at Foxholes Care Home?
When it comes to designing menus within a care setting, taking into account the individual needs of each resident can be quite a challenge. Accommodating different factors such as ability to cut certain foods of a tougher texture. Manuel very much takes a person-centred approach to his meal planning, considering not only the physical requirements of those he cooks for, but also their personal preferences on tastes and textures.
How do you think your food impacts the residents?
Manuel says, “When it comes to cooking, we obviously tick all the boxes on nutrition. However, we treat food as more than just a necessity, applying a hospitality-like approach to our meals to create photo-worthy, delicious dishes for every meal. By cooking with passion and a love for what we do, it makes a big impact on the residents’ lives. ”
Check out the short video below of Manuel in action, preparing food in our kitchen at Foxholes Care Home.
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