Oscar, Apprentice Chef



Oscar found the career he loves, catering in care homes, by happy accident. Whilst doing an IT course at college he took a part time job in a kitchen doing potwash and enjoyed it, “I liked the whole kitchen environment – I’d always liked cooking, I’d done GCSE.” He decided to develop his interest in catering and went on to get a position as Apprentice Chef in a hotel restaurant. Then the pandemic struck, “I heard the news of the lockdown on the radio and knew the restaurant would shut. We cleaned everything down and that was it.” This was when Oscar came to help out at Resthaven.

“I’m glad it happened. It’s a lot better here. I didn’t realise that care home cooking was like this to be honest. They never tell you about these places at school or college. I thought it would all just be frozen food. I was really surprised everything was fresh – I didn’t expect that at all. The quality is just as good as the restaurants.”

“I enjoy the hours [at Resthaven]. It’s a lot slower pace than in restaurants when you are constantly going 100 miles an hour. I was working ridiculous hours at the restaurant, doing 12 – 11 at night whereas here I work 7am-3pm or 10 – 6pm and get every other weekend off.”

Oscar restarted his Apprenticeship at Resthaven and completed his Level 2 NVQ in food preparation. As part of the course he has spent time in the kitchens of three Lilian Faithfull Care homes; “It’s really helped me working for different chefs and seeing different ways of doing things.”

Part of the chef’s training at Lilian Faithfull Care involves learning the techniques needed to prepare meals for residents who have swallowing difficulties. Oscar now makes the individual purees and then pipes them to recreate the dishes on the menu. “When I first did it I was surprised what you can do with it when you are taught properly how to pipe it.”

Oscar completed the majority of his apprenticeship within his normal working hours which has made it manageable.  After qualifying and gaining further experience he is now Chef at Bay Tree Court.

Oscar has found the right place to progress his career and comments; “It’s worth looking at working here.”