Meet our Head Chef, Neil Dowsett
Before joining Barchester at Windmill Manor, I had a varied career in the hospitality and catering industry, from working as a Catering Manager for a competitor, to running my own public house/restaurant. I have been a chef for most of my working life and enjoy cooking very much. I find it rewarding to provide residents with nutritious and tasty meals.
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'.