Hallmark Carehomes
Spotlight on Head Chef at Anya Court Care Home, Ernesto Gagliotta

14 April 2022

Spotlight on Head Chef at Anya Court Care Home, Ernesto Gagliotta

We recently caught up with Head Chef at Anya Court Care Home, Ernesto Gagliotta, to find out how he meets residents needs and where his passion for food comes from.

What does your role entail?

I am the Head Chef at Anya Court Care Home. My role is to create the weekly menu, order fresh, local produce and lead the kitchen team to create the best possible food to meet each resident’s needs.

How did you become a Chef and what drew you to wanting to be a Chef?

My passion for cooking started very young. I’ve always loved being in the kitchen and being creative with food. My mum was a big influence towards my love of food.

What does a normal day look like for you?

A normal day for me starts with preparing the menu for the day ahead and relaying to the team what the plan for the day is. Every day we serve three meals to residents and residents can place their orders like they would at a restaurant. We work hard to serve meals that are tasty, nutritionally balanced and beautiful to look at.

What made you choose to work in the care industry?

I love working in the care industry because it is extremely rewarding to feel as though I am helping people and providing joy through the dishes we prepare.

How do you ensure residents individual needs are met?

At Anya Court, we have lots of residents with many different needs, from a fork mashable diet to residents that are insulin dependent, which we need to take into account. We ensure when a new resident moves in, we know their likes and dislikes and we also host a bi-monthly meeting with residents that we call the ‘Food Forum.’ The residents are invited along for a cake and a glass of prosecco to talk about what they are enjoying on the menu to how we can change and improve it.

What is the most important thing about being a Chef in a care home?

The most important thing is to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the residents and taking the time to understand their likes and dislikes, nutritional needs and care needs so we can adapt our menu to best suit them. It’s also really important to ensure we are constantly trying to actively improve the residents experience in the dining room by gathering their feedback.

What is a personal highlight in your role?

A personal highlight in my role is when the family members of the residents give us good feedback on what we do everyday in the kitchen.

What is your favourite thing about being a Chef?

The best thing about being a Chef is making people happy. Notoriously, food has a reputation of making people happy – which is a great upside of the role.

What types of meals do you typically provide, and do the residents have any favourites?

Our menu is mostly based on traditional English dishes such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, but we are always trying to give it a twist to challenge the resident’s palate with new recipes. At Anya Court, we want to provide residents with the opportunity to live a life they love, which could mean trying new foods as well as enjoying the foods they know and love.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a Chef in a care home?

As a Chef in any industry, the hours are long and you work under pressure – but at the same time, there are lots of rewarding experiences that happen everyday in a care home that you don’t necessarily have in a restaurant or corporate setting.

How do you spend your free time?

I spend my free time mostly with my family, going out for walks, watching movies and sport and you guessed it…cooking!

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