Apprentice Chef Oscar Balgobin found the career he loves, by a happy accident, and is now a Chef at Lilian Faithfull Care’s care home in Stroud.
Whilst doing an IT course at college he took a part time job in a kitchen doing pot wash and enjoyed it, “I liked the whole kitchen environment – I’d always liked cooking, I did 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 Lilian Faithfull Care’s Resthaven care home in Stroud, and he has stayed ever since. He has no regrets.
“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.”
Lilian Faithfull Care is a charity with 76 years’ experience of providing care, support and a ‘home for life’ for people in Gloucestershire. Proudly caring for over 250 remarkable residents across five care homes and guests at two adult day hubs in Cheltenham and Stroud.
“I enjoy the hours . 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 in Level 2 NVQ in food preparation at Resthaven care home. Using the provider ‘HIT Training’, which are an apprenticeship provider for the UK’s hospitality and catering industry.
As part of the course he 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 was able to complete the majority of his apprenticeship within his normal working hours which has made it manageable. Over the course has passed the two theory exams and put in plenty of preparation for his practical exams. One of them was to create a main course and dessert from scratch in two hours!
Luckily, it doesn’t faze him and after a mock test he explained, “I could see the clock ticking down but it’s good, I like it.”
For the second practical, he was observed doing his normal role for a couple of hours, “You just forget they are there.”
Just before Christmas Oscar took his practical exams and passed! Congratulations to Oscar! He is now a Chef at Resthaven home and his first job in this role was cooking Christmas lunch for around 50 people. The residents and staff said he did a fantastic job!
Oscar has found the right place to progress his career and comments; “It’s worth looking at working here.”
To find out more about working at Lilian Faithfull Care go to: www.lilianfaithfull.co.uk/about-us/work-with-us