Simon's mission to deliver top hotel standard cuisine to care home residents
Award-winning chef Simon Lewis aims to give care home residents a five-star restaurant experience in his new role as Kingsley Healthcare’s hospitality manager in Dorset.
Simon, who has worked alongside Matt Follas, winner of BBC’s Masterchef in 2009, and cooked in the kitchens of the exclusive Monkey Island Estate hotel in the village of Bray, Berkshire, will oversee the dining experience of Kingsley’s three homes in Dorset, Queen Charlotte Nursing Home, in Weymouth, Branksome Heights, in Bournemouth and Highcliffe Nursing Home, in Highcliffe.
A local boy, who went to school in Portland and trained at Weymouth College, Simon’s culinary journey has also seen him cook for Prince William and Prince Harry during his spell as a civilian chef in the Army and win prestigious awards while working for other care providers.
His accolades included two National Association of Care Caterers South West Care Chef of the Year titles and a Most Nutritional Menu Award.
Simon’s life has come full circle since his days working in the rarefied culinary setting of Bray and, now happily settled back in the county he loves, his aim is to raise care home cuisine to the standard of a top hotel.
The father of three said: “I believe everyone deserves a nutritional, tasty plate of food that looks well presented.
“The challenge for a chef in a care home is that residents are dining in the restaurant 365 days a year so they are the hardest clientele to please.”
He said his aim was to deliver the same experience you would enjoy in a restaurant in every way – from the appearance, taste and smell of the food and the touch and feel of the tables to the presentation and service.
“I am passionate about using local produce and have already switched to a Dorset meat supplier,” he said.
Simon loves getting to know the residents and has incorporated their preferences in a new three-week menu at Queen Charlotte Nursing Home.
He said: “Slow-cooked braised steak is a big favourite and all the residents love their desserts. That’s where chefs can show their flair. Eton Mess goes down well and our lemon meringue roulade is very popular.
“What residents like are simple, basic dishes cooked with flair. If it’s cottage pie it has to be the best cottage pie, if it’s fish and chips, it has to be the best fish and chips.”