Caroline Lloyd, a Head Chef at Prince George House care home went above and beyond the call of duty this Christmas by staying away from her family and moving into the home for three weeks to ensure she was free of Covid and able to cook Christmas lunch for the residents.
In mid-December, one of Caroline’s family tested positive for Covid. To make sure she stayed infection-free, Caroline decided to isolate from her family and to stay at the care home for the entire festive period. Home Manager, Jennifer Roger, agreed she could stay in the day care centre next to home. This centre is equipped with a kitchenette, bathroom and TV and is centrally heated but isn’t exactly a family home.
Caroline said: “When one of the people I live with tested positive, I knew I couldn’t risk coming into contact with them. Luckily, they hadn’t been home for a few days but were going to be in my house for Christmas. So, I decided to stay at Prince George House and not see my family at all to make absolutely sure that I wouldn’t catch the virus. Thankfully, my family were very understanding about the fact that I couldn’t spend Christmas with them.”
Her sacrifice was given extra weight when the home’s Second Chef tested positive just before Christmas and was unable to work. Knowing it would be virtually impossible to find a relief chef to provide back-up in the holiday season, Caroline found herself with a kitchen team down to two – herself and a Kitchen Assistant.
Together, the pair didn’t just prepare a three course lunch for the 76 residents they also fulfilled their plan to also offer the same menu to every colleague on duty that day.
This meant cooking the full, ambitious menu already planned for a big Christmas feast, including starters of either prawn cocktail or butternut squash soup, mains of roast turkey along with a sausage, bacon and stuffing roulade, and all the usual trimmings. She also cooked mushroom Wellington, for vegetarian diners and those who don’t like turkey. And not forgetting dessert, she prepared a mouth-watering traditional sherry trifle and Christmas pudding. Not content with all that cooking, the two of them even agreed to do all the washing up afterwards.
Caroline said: ““I’m not quite sure how we did it, but on Christmas Day, with my one remaining team member we ended up preparing a traditional Christmas dinner for over 120 people, that’s a lot of sprouts!”
Caroline added: “I love my job. As a chef, I get great pleasure from knowing residents are eating well-balanced meals that they truly love. I’ve been here since 2014 and Prince George House is like one big loving family, I have great colleagues. I really enjoy being able to interact with the residents, finding out what they most like to eat. Seeing how much my home cooking means to them is very rewarding. Cooking in a care home has to be one of the most fulfilling roles any chef can undertake.”
Home Manager at Prince George House, Jennifer Rodger, said: “This is not the first time we have seen Caroline going above and beyond to support residents and my team. Last year, over Easter with the pandemic in full swing , she discovered another member of her household had tested positive so ended up staying in the home for over a week to ensure the residents and colleagues were kept safe and able to enjoy the delicious Easter meals she and her kitchen team had planned.