16th March 2022
Sanctuary Supported Living
Every single member of staff plays an important role in making sure that residents live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives at our retirement communities. From maintenance assistants, care and support teams to catering teams, our staff take pride in everything they do.
Gary Fletcher has worked for Sanctuary Retirement Living’s Rose Manor in Telford for four and a half years, and as Chef Manager, he does an excellent job of running the 5* hygiene rated Taste Restaurant.
With an Advanced Professional Chef NVQ Level 3, Gary’s contagious enthusiasm, skill, and love for food has helped to develop and transform menus throughout his catering career. He worked in fine dining and rosette standard restaurants before he decided to build on his bank of knowledge, and experience different ways of working. As a freelance agency chef, he worked for himself and tried hospitality and catering for thousands of people at big events such as Doncaster Racecourse.
It was through an agency that Gary found his way to Sanctuary Supported Living in 2017, and it didn’t take long for him to be offered a permanent Assistant Chef position. He said: “I covered some shifts at Rose Manor and loved the atmosphere and the way the kitchen was run. I know that mealtimes are a highlight of the day for so many residents who enjoy delicious, home-cooked meals and I was keen to continue cooking restaurant-style food, without the restaurant-style hours!
“Since I’d always worked twelve-hour days, I was excited about having my evenings back to spend time with my family. I also wanted to challenge myself and break the stigma that food in a retirement living environment was unappealing and just plain inedible, whilst also thinking about residents’ eating needs and their dietary requirements. It’s a challenge, sure, but it’s very rewarding.”
Gary’s effort does not go unrecognised, as his dishes are always singled out for special praise. From a simple fish and chips to the exceptional food that he makes to celebrate special occasions, like Burns Night and Chinese New Year, he’s always showcasing his culinary skills, and the residents love it.
Adam, who lives just over the road from Rose Manor at Oleander House, said: “I love taking a walk over here and enjoying my lunch. The staff look out for me. My usual is the scampi and chips, but I can take a long time deciding what to have for pudding. Gary’s homemade brownies and flapjacks are my favourite!” Set in the heart of Ketley Millennium Village, Oleander House provides care and support for adults with a range of learning disabilities.
Gary added: “If you’re thinking about a change of scenery and a career with Sanctuary Retirement Living – go for it. See a different side to catering. It’s an environment where you can really get to know your customers. In a restaurant, your customers are important, but they’re faceless. Cooking for residents means that I’ve built up some nice relationships because I see them day in, day out and we’re on first name basis! They’re not afraid to ask for what they want, even if it’s not on the menu, and I’m passionate about customer service - I’ll always work hard to go above and beyond. It’s a great job, I love it.”
All our Taste restaurants are open to family and friends, and many are open to the public, where everyone is welcome to enjoy our delicious, freshly prepared meals at great value prices.