On a plate

For Longlands Care Home cook Paula Durham success on a plate means providing food that is nutritious and delicious for residents.

“Food is a very important part of the day for the residents, they look forward to it and we want to make sure it is healthy and they enjoy it,” said Paula.

Meals are planned in advance to ensure a healthy balance and when any new resident joins the home takes care to ensure any dietary requirements are met, including any food allergies or personal requests such as a halal or vegetarian diet.

“We do offer pasta and noodles but the residents tend to prefer more traditional foods that they have been brought up with like mince and dumplings and meat pies. The traditional Sunday roast is always popular,” said Paula.

And the home is keen to include include food in any special occasions like the recent jubilee.

“We like to make a fuss so for the jubilee we got the flags out and had a lovely spread with quiche and cakes,” said Paula.

She joined Longlands five years ago and had previous catering experience in schools and running her own cafe and chip shop.

As part of her initial training with Longlands she did shifts helping in the laundry and cleaning before starting as a kitchen assistant and then being promoted to cook.

“That helped me appreciate the work that others do at the home, we are a good team and all get on together,” she said. “I enjoy my job, I like to help people and we are treated well by management.”

With over 40 residents to feed the day starts early for Paula who is in by 7am to start the breakfast run.

Then there’s the 10am tea and fruit trolley, lunch, afternoon milkshake trolley, followed by tea and then supper.

Paula is also responsible for ordering the food and the home uses local suppliers where possible.

Though Paula’s shift finishes at 2.30pm she usually stays on to have a chat and a cuppa with some of the residents. She said: “The residents like a chat and so do I. I love to hear their life stories and keep them company because they can get lonely if they have no family visiting.”

The 2022 heatwave brought added responsibility to ensure residents were kept hydrated and Paula was on hand to dish out ice lollies and bottles of water and provide jugs of squash in every room.

“We were very careful to ensure residents kept hydrated and the same went for the staff as well” she said.

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