Meet our Head Chef, Moses Chanakira
I was born in England, but went to Zambia as a child and returned to England in 1988, when I started training to be Chef at Lewisham College and I worked at the student union as a catering assistant while studying.
I initially started working with Barchester Healthcare at a home in Wimbledon as a 2nd Chef and moved to Thackeray House 4 years ago, having been promoted to Head Chef.
I am aware mealtimes are a hugely important event in the day for our residents, so I endeavor to prepare, cook and present food from seasonal menu that residents enjoy. I lead a team of kitchen staff comprising of, a 2nd Chef, Kitchen assistants and hostesses whom I support in their roles and encourage to professionally develop. I work closely with the General Manager, Deputy and Registered Nurses to ensure we provide meals suitable for residents differing requirements, for example, Diabetic, Pureed, Soft, Halal, Gluten free and Lactose free diets.
Thackeray House, holds events for residents, relatives and local community throughout the year which always involves catering. This is jointly organised with the General Manager, Activity Coordinator and myself and relies on effective team work by all the kitchen team to make a success of the event. I communicate daily with the General Manager and visit residents in their own rooms regularly or chat with them in the dining room, to ensure we are meeting their individualised needs and they are satisfied.
I am always happy to prepare catering for special occasions for residents and their families and we have previously catered for a wedding, birthday parties and funeral teas. Visitors to the home will find they have access to tea, coffee and my home baking and many make use of this facility.
I enjoy working at Thackeray House, as there is excellent communication between all departments and I there is a great team spirit where everyone helps when required.
Food and Nutrition at our home
Our dishes here are constantly evolving, and take into account the desires of those we support, integrating seasonality into everything we prepare. Food and nutrition are at the heart of the home, so it is important that residents can enjoy a balanced diet that caters to individual dietary requirements. Whether people want to try something new and exciting, or just enjoy an old favourite, there is something for everyone on our menu. Please see below for more information:
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'.