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Chef’s moving forward featuring Sue Cawthray, Chair of NACC


Essential Cuisine interviewed our CEO Sue Cawthray about some of the impacts Coronavirus has had on our kitchen operation, adjustments that have been made and “what the future looks like in the care sector”.

How have the past few months been for you?

Out of my 30 years of experience working in the care sector, these last few months have been the most challenging. I have been working very long days, completing operational tasks, as well as leading and supporting members of the team who have had their own personal lives to deal with outside of work.

How has the pandemic impacted you and your role?

I have been working hard, reassuring staff, families, residents and tenants that we are doing our best to keep everyone safe. Making sense of the ever-changing goal posts has been a challenge. It’s also been difficult to make sure that we have enough PPE, we found ourselves having to beg, borrow and persuade people to support us – even our normal suppliers.

In terms of your menu, have you simplified your offerings over the past couple of months?

We managed to maintain our catering service. The restaurant itself has been closed, so we have served meals directly to tenants in their apartments, this has enabled our hospitality team to really get to know everyone.

Looking to the future, how are you altering your menu as we move to Autumn / Winter?

We are planning to update our menus in the last week of October. We will be consulting the tenants by distributing our quality questionnaires. By doing this we gain valuable feedback.

Do any Essential Cuisine products feature on your existing / upcoming menus?

I know our chefs like using Essential Cuisine products everyday, both for our residents and tenants but also in our commercial kitchen for “Food Angels”.

Do you feel our ingredients will help other chefs simplify recipes and processes in the working kitchen?

I believe they do. It is so important to offer a well-balanced, nutritious menu with lots of choice.

Any messages or advice for fellow chefs in the current climate?

We must continue to offer a first class service. Nutrition is more important than ever, so take a look at your menus and be creative. Look at the fantastic products that are available to make your job satisfying.