david, head chef at havens hospices

"I spend as much of my time as possible cooking, but being Head Chef also means juggling rotas, processing invoices, ordering supplies and planning menus. On a Saturday, I’ll often work a long day doing all the cooking, washing the pots and pans and taking meal orders from patients.

We get the opportunity to try out new ideas and be creative. I was eating at an Italian restaurant and was served a trio of desserts in small shot glasses. I thought this would be a brilliant idea for the adult patients as they often only want a few mouthfuls.  

Food is such an important part of our lives and I think that’s true too for somebody who isn’t well.  Quite often our patients like the idea of eating even if they then can’t manage the meal itself. Being able to order the meal is one of the few lifestyle choices still available to them and we will do our best to accommodate what they want whether that’s a full roast dinner or egg and chips. The point is we are showing that we care by listening and then doing. 

We sometimes make cakes for a memorial or blessing in the hospice, make sure families have tea and toast if they’re staying with a patient overnight or whip up homemade chicken soup.

We often associate the word “care” with the work of doctors and nursing staff but everyone at Havens Hospices has an important part to play and if we think of care as “holistic” then everyone has a part to play from the kitchen staff to the housekeeping department, admin staff, reception and chaplaincy.

Basically we all need one another to make sure that hospice care really happens and I would like to think we in the kitchen have an important role to play."

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