Sonya Bakalova – career change

Sonya joined Barchester as a carer in November 2002 having moved over from Bulgaria where she worked as a nurse. Already having an interest in food, Sonya began to help out in the kitchen at the home where she was working, eventually covering for the weekend chef. Sonya joined the Barchester Chef Academy and attended the practical workshops to develop her skill level. Sonya discovered a real passion for food and decided to pursue this career route. Sonya was given the opportunity of joining the L2 Professional Cookery Apprenticeship programme delivered in-house.

While on this programme the Head Chef position became available at the home and Sonya decided to apply. She was successful in gaining the position and with the support from the Chef Academy has improved the standard of food in the home immensely. Sonya then went onto achieve her L3 Professional Cookery qualification.

Utilising all of the skills developed through the Barchester training Sonya has gone on to win the Barchester Chef of the Year competition and this has then led to an exciting opportunity to embark upon a week's work experience at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – Raymond Blanc’s two-Michelin star Restaurant and Hotel in Oxfordshire.