The secret ingredients of an award-winning chef

At Country Court Care we are about celebrating life every day; delivering five-star catering and hospitality and making mealtimes a sociable, shared experience to bring people together are key to this. Steven Ireland, Chef Manager at Ferrars Hall Care Home, was recently named Chef of the Year at the Great East Midlands Care Awards. What makes an award-winning chef?

A passion for food

 “Steven’s passion for food is clear, it drives him to deliver creative dishes for his residents ensuring they eagerly anticipate every mealtime,” said Head of Hospitality Anwar Kajee.

Steven started his career as an apprentice kitchen assistant at a hotel, wishing to gain experience in a wide range of sectors he joined Ferrars Hall Care Home two years ago. His dedication and enthusiasm have seen him promoted to Chef Manager, where his role involves designing and planning the weekly menus. He manages ten staff members including two chefs, a general kitchen assistant and seven front of house staff. He invests time to train all his team ensuring the dining experience at Ferrars Hall Care Home is second to none.

Making mealtimes a shared experience

 “We are delighted that Steven has been recognised with this award. Our residents here at Ferrars Hall are always delighted with their meals and look forward to coming to the dining room to see what’s on offer each day”, said Home Manager, Susan Dunnell.

Steven spends time with residents in the dining room at mealtimes in order to get to know them and gain firsthand feedback on the day’s menu. He also attends resident’s meetings, spends time talking to residents and their families, and liaises with the care team to ensure that everyone’s preferences are catered for. Making sure that everyone feels involved in planning menus and discussing ideas for dishes has proven to be crucial in keeping new ideas flowing.

The menu at Ferrars Hall is updated on a weekly basis and according to the season, whilst retaining favourite dishes that residents love. Each Sunday residents enjoy a full roast dinner, with a traditional English dish served on a Monday and Fridays are fish and chip supper day. Birthdays, anniversaries and other special events are always marked with a bespoke cake or menu tailored to a theme or individual preferences. All dietary requirements are catered for with vegan options and texture modified dishes for residents who require them.

It’s all in the detail

 “Presentation is everything,” explains Steven “People eat with their eyes, so we make every effort to plate up and present each dish to five-star restaurant standards.”

The Great East Midlands Care Awards are part of the Great British Care Awards, a series of 9 regional awards celebrating excellence across the care sector. The purpose of the awards is to promote best practice within both home care and care homes sectors and pay tribute to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence within their field of work.

As a category winner at the Great East Midlands Care Awards Steven will go through to the final at Birmingham’s ICC on 20th March 2020.

You can see more of Steven’s dishes on the Country Court Care hospitality Instagram: @caring_with_food or on Twitter @ChefsCourt

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