The Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Cooking Career in the Retirement Sector
Graduates of professional culinary programs are quick to begin a career in a restaurant setting. The fast-paced environment and the pressure to prepare top-notch dishes is attractive to young, skilled and energetic graduates entering the culinary industry.>/p> Restaurant chefs may not have a set schedule and may be required to work nights, weekends and holidays because of the nature of the industry.
Many people are unaware of the opportunities awaiting them in the retirement living sector. Eli Parent has worked as a cook at Seasons Amherstburg for 11 years and is determined to educate others about the benefits of choosing a career in seniors housing.
Here are three reasons to consider a culinary career in a retirement community:
1. Ample work-life balance
Chefs working in a retirement setting have a consistent, dependable schedule, often working regular 40-hour weeks. This means employees have down-time to spend with their families, friends and other loved ones. It also means they can count on a steady paycheque, easing financial stress.
Eli Parent says, “In a retirement setting, schedules are better because there is more structure. In a restaurant, your hours are all over the map, making it difficult to plan a life.”
Chefs working in restaurants usually work long hours, often late into the night.
“The pace of retirement cooking is different as far as having scheduled seating times, which allows for a better, smoother service,” says Eli.
2. Seniors housing is a rapidly-growing sector
According to statistics released in the 2016 Census, 40 per cent of Canadian seniors aged 85 to 89 live in retirement residences. The Census also revealed that for the first time ever, Canadian seniors outnumber children, 14 and under.
There’s no denying that within the next few years, the need for qualified, skilled and enthusiastic cooks will increase to meet the demands of seniors living in retirement communities.
Eli says, “Aside from the fact that this industry is quickly expanding, I feel people should look for careers in seniors housing because it creates job security and the wages and benefits are good. Above all else, the gratification of providing quality service to seniors makes each workday very rewarding.”
3. The freedom to be creative
Many people think retirement food is processed, boring and bland. At Seasons Retirement Communities, this is far from the truth.
“Our menu is diverse and covers a broad range of dishes to please everyone. I find it unique that we use as many fresh ingredients as we can, including vegetables and herbs from our own Seasons garden. The types of dishes we create, the five-week rotation for features and our a la carte menu keeps it fresh and different,” says Eli.
We understand how important it is to serve quality food our residents love to eat. Our cooks use their knowledge to improve meals by adjusting flavour profiles, presentation and texture, resulting in a better dining experience for our residents.
To further demonstrate this commitment, Seasons Retirement Communities recently announced its culinary partnership with celebrity chefs Michael and Anna Olson. Each month in 2018, all Seasons Retirement Communities will bake and serve a delicious Anna Olson dessert. Twice annually, Michael will provide seasonal menus for our Dining Services Managers to create. This partnership helps to change the misconception about retirement food while giving our chefs new inspiration to serve our residents delicious dishes.By Jessica Rabaey