James goes out of his way to cater for others. He generously gives up his time to ensure every patient receives the attention they deserve and the food they need to help them feel better. We find out more about what it’s like to be a chef at Trinity.

What is your day-to-day routine like at the hospice?

“I start the day at 8am when I get ready to serve breakfast and then I usually finish at around 7.30pm after dinner. With only a small team and volunteers to help serve the food, there’s always a lot going on.

My days are varied and no day at the hospice is ever the same. I cater for patients, their families and friends and also staff at the hospice. I prepare three meals a day for up to 28 patients staying in the inpatient unit. I also make lunches, cakes and snacks for the hospice café.

I like to take the time to chat to our patients. Sometimes I might need to encourage them or gauge what they might like to eat when they aren’t well enough to decide.”

How do you decide what to put on the menu?

“I’ve tried to create a menu which suits patients’ needs. I make sure the food I serve is easy to eat, soft and not too spicy. I like to cook meals which people are familiar with so that they feel at home. Regular meals on the menu include shepherd’s pie, scampi, risotto and cannelloni.

Since the hospice is a local charity, it means that every penny counts. I tend to buy ingredients which are versatile so that no food gets wasted. My menu changes throughout the seasons, with the fruit and vegetables we serve updated regularly.

We also use home-grown herbs and fruit from the hospice garden. We can make some nice cakes for the café from the rhubarb, apples and mulberry fruit.”

Tell us about some of your most interesting days at the hospice…

“Every day is unpredictable. I’ve made a two-tiered wedding cake, complete with figurine and heart-shaped sprinkles, for a patient who wished to get married in the hospice. I’ve spent Christmas Day cooking dinner with all the trimmings for the patients, families and nurses staying at Trinity over the festive period. I’ve even cooked meals including calamari, lobster and suckling pig at the request of patients who wanted to eat their favourite dish one more time before they died.

I think it’s important to help people to enjoy food for as long as they can. It’s a really great thing if we are able to help make special memories for patients and their families.”