Cooking for LTC residents is a career that makes a difference, says Willows’ NCM

‘It’s the passion for the residents – I love working for them,’ says Jeffrey Peters

Jeffrey Peters started his culinary career working in the kitchens of what he describes as the “fast-paced world” of restaurants, hotels and catering services.

Then, six years ago, he decided to make a career change and use his skills in a way that would positively impact people’s quality of life.

He began working in long-term care and retirement homes and hasn’t looked back.

“My passion for the residents (drives me),” Jeffrey, who became the nutritional care manager (NCM) at Willows Estate in April, tells The OMNIway.

“It has been about coming into health care and bringing a fine dining experience and quality. … It’s the passion for the residents – I love working for them.”

Jeffrey says the atmosphere at Willows Estate is “homey,” and residents and staff members are like family.

“The people here are very nice and very welcoming, and this is a very nice place to grow,” he says.

Jeffrey says the shift from working in restaurants to working in a long-term care home has been “a wonderful change,” not only because it affords him an opportunity to make a difference to residents, but also because it has provided him with more time with his family and better quality of life.

Jeffrey underscores the importance of people being passionate about their work, particularly in long-term care. When people put their heart into their work in a long-term care home it’s reflected in residents’ quality of life, he says.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re working in a five-star restaurant or cooking for one person, you have to put your heart into what you’re doing.”

Outside of the kitchen, Jeffrey is also a musician. At the previous long-term care home where he worked, Jeffrey would sometimes leave the kitchen and entertain residents by playing piano.

He has also been known to sing for residents and do mini concerts, which is how he earned the nickname the “singing chef.”

“I love music and I love to cook, and I can’t give them both up, so I merge them both together,” he says.

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story. Click here to read Part 1.

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Photo caption: A sample of the desserts made at Willows Estate by nutritional care manager Jeffrey Peters and his team.