Food at Ashby House Care Home
Meet our Head Chef, Jay Bailey
Hello. I am Jay, the Head Chef at Ashby House where I joined the team in 2020.
I have 27 years’ experience in the hospitality industry covering all roles from kitchen porter to wine waiter to restaurant manager. My passion is for cooking and I trained to be a Chef at Watford Cassio College. For most of my career I have been a Chef Manager, running business and industry contracts which I enjoyed for the variety of the work and getting to know customers and corporate clients.
I joined Ashby House during the Covid lockdown and it is one of the most enjoyable roles I have ever had. I enjoy the satisfaction of making tasty meals and treats for residents every day – from a traditional Sunday roast to a summer BBQ in the garden, making sure everything is as good as it can be, including music for atmosphere. I also love making treats like birthday cakes and party food for special occasions.
An important part of my role is getting to know residents and their individual food preferences and nutritional needs. This includes knowing people’s allergies and making sure I provide meals in a variety of appetising textures and consistencies for residents who have difficulty swallowing.
In my spare time I enjoy keeping fit, and I have three children so there isn’t much time for relaxing on my days off.
Food and Nutrition at our home
It is essential that the people we support have access to healthy food at all times, so our fantastic catering team are always on hand to prepare tasty and nutritious cuisine. Our food is always cooked to highest standard and with residents’ preferences always in mind. The importance of a balanced diet is never forgotten here, so we offer a varied menu that has something for everyone to enjoy, which you can sample below:
For residents who have difficulties swallowing, we modify the menu of the day so that the dishes are more palatable for them. To support our chefs in producing these dishes, our hospitality team and our Chef Academy organise theory and practical workshops. The chefs work with the chef trainer to prepare tasty, modified meals safely and according to IDDSI frame work. This encourages residents to eat and enjoy their food. All our chefs have been trained in IDDSI food descriptors.
Attracting top chefs
Our chefs are recruited on the basis of an interview with the regional hospitality support team and the manager of the home. Selection also involves a practical element, where potential chefs are asked to cook for and meet a panel of people living in the home. Chefs take their job extremely seriously and the annual Barchester Chef Competition sees our chefs battle it out in regional heats and then at a national final for the accolade of 'Barchester's Chef of the Year'.