‘Why working as a chef in a retirement village is so rewarding’ – Barbara Kenealy, chef manager at Moat Park retirement village, shares her story

Diary posted

27th July 2015

Chef Barbara Kenealy joined Moat Park three years ago and hasn’t looked back since, she says.  

“I love it here – I love the village, my kitchen, our excellent manager, our staff and, of course, our residents, a few of whom are local people who I know personally,” she explained.

Barbara, who lives in nearby High Roding near Great Dunmow, wanted to be a cookery teacher when she was at school. Her career has revolved around cookery and meal provision ever since, including regular Silver Service civic functions.

As chef manager at Moat Park, Barbara has been responsible for broadening menus while keeping a watchful eye on stock control and eliminating wastage.

“I treat this as my own business and that means managing the budgets too,” explained Barbara. “When it comes to mealtimes, whether I’m cooking for one person or 50, I expect the same very high standards. I’m really proud of the service level we maintain in the village.”

Barbara has joined the Coeliac Society to keep up to date on gluten free diets and recently completed a dementia course to ensure she is aware of specific nutritional needs for people living with this condition.

“I have bags of energy and ideas and I can’t see me ever wanting to stop this work. It is a real pleasure and a privilege and I get to meet some wonderful people within the village at the same time,” she added.

So what does a chef choose to eat when they’re not preparing and cooking food for other people? Barbara shares some of her food favourites with us here…..

When you’re not at work what are the favourite meals you cook for yourself? 
Roast dinner has to be top of the list but I also enjoy cooking a lasagne.

What about if you eat out?
It has to be Thai food!

Do you have a favourite cake recipe? 
My carrot cake is truly perfect, even if I do say so myself!

Who is your favourite celebrity chef? 
I don’t really watch many of the chefs on TV although I do have a soft spot for fellow Essex boy Jamie Oliver!