What’s cooking in our Village Kitchens?
Metlifecare kitchen staff are turning up the heat, with an increasing number taking advantage of on-the-job chef training.
Currently six of our most talented cooks are undergoing formal learning to boost their culinary skills, from frontline management and cookery papers, to chef apprenticeships. Metlifecare Regional Food Services Manager Matt Horne couldn’t be happier.
“We are committed to providing an industry leading food service to our residents and investing in staff training is a key ingredient,” he says.
“By taking advantage of professional development opportunities, our kitchen staff can upskill while they’re working and they also have a clear career pathway within the organisation.”
Village residents are also reaping the benefits.
“We strive to provide quality wholesome food which is value for money for our residents, whether it’s meals supplied to our care homes or on the menus of our village cafes and restaurants. By learning in-depth cooking techniques across a wide range of food types, our staff gain the confidence to put more technical dishes on the menu – plus they develop the professional knowledge to cater for the diverse dietary needs and tastes of our 5,000 residents.”
While much of the course work can be covered in their village kitchens, the Metlifecare cooks also meet every Monday at Waitakere Gardens to hone their skills on some of the more complex dishes.
For The Poynton’s Shahil Lala, it’s a great way to pursue a career he is passionate about.
“Training on the job supports me getting first-hand experience on what it’s like to be working in a kitchen and also alongside people that know the trade very well,” says the apprentice chef, who is honing his skills under the expert eye of Kitchen Manager Wayne Kemp.
“I’ve been fortunate that the chefs I am being mentored by are qualified culinary teachers, and the focus on self-directed learning allows me to work at my own pace. It’s very reassuring for me knowing that I have chosen the right career path. I’ve already worked in the kitchens at two Metlifecare villages and in the future I’m keen to expand my experience into some of our other villages, not just with cooking, but potentially in management roles. I feel like Metlifecare offers a great opportunity for that.”
Shahil’s future looks bright yet he says one of the greatest rewards is being able to create fantastic food that enhances the lives of village residents.
“Through my training I’m able to put a modern twist on traditional classic meals and present them in a way that our residents may not have enjoyed before. They really appreciate that. I feel like I’m able to give back to residents through my cooking.”