Meet our Head Chef, Fiona Hill
I qualified as a chef in 1987 with a City & Guilds 706/1 & 2. I have gained experience in various establishments, such as schools, hotels, bistros, cafés and nursing homes.
From each of the places I have lovingly worked, I have taken ideas and inspiration and blended them to make mine a fine recipe for success.
I took up the position of head chef at Ashminster House in August 2018. I like to make residents' lives enjoyable by providing authentic and modern culinary delights from around the world, tantalising their taste buds.
I speak to residents individually to find out their likes and dislikes, and they let me know if there are dishes they would like to see on our menus. I enjoy learning new skills and I am open to suggestions.
In my own time, I like outdoor activities, swimming, reading and I am a keen environmentalist.
Food and Nutrition at Ashminster House
Our head chef aims to provide food of restaurant quality to our residents using seasonal produce for menus to ensure very high standards of flavour and service. The kitchen team at Ashminster House take account of all residents' likes and dislikes, and the menu is created to meet these and promote choice and variety. There is always a wonderful aroma coming from the kitchen and the team are happy to oblige with requests.
For residents that have difficulties in swallowing we modify the menu of the day so that is it a soft, palatable dish. To support our chefs in producing these dishes, our hospitality and Chef Academy organises theory and practical workshops. Working in partnership with Nutricia, our practical workshops involve all chefs and deputy managers learning about dysphagia and producing these modified menus. The chefs work with the chef trainer to prepare fork mashable and thick puree meals to the correct consistency, taste and presentation. The deputy managers can then ensure all modified menus served are presented correctly for our residents.
Attracting top chefs
Our chefs are recruited on the basis of an interview with the regional hospitality support team and the manager for the home. Selection also involves a practical element where potential cooks are asked to cook for and meet a panel of people living in the home. Chefs take their job extremely seriously and our annual 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'.