Willows Estate cook proves to be a natural at the job

Denise Thomas’s adaptability to her first LTC position ‘was so good; it was like she had been working here for years’

While working as a cook at Willows Estate is the first position in a long-term care home Denise Thomas has held, she has mastered the job after only six months, says her supervisor.

Denise says she worked a variety of jobs, including stints at Canadian Tire, a factory and a movie theatre, before starting at the Willows last summer.

She also has a passion for cooking and a certificate in food services, so when Denise heard about a job opening at the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home she decided to apply for the position.

Once she received her initial training, Denise says she transitioned seamlessly into her new job.

“I learn very quickly,” she tells The OMNIway. “I do everything on my own, I do the prepping, I do the baking, and I find learning things easy.”

As much as Denise says she enjoys cooking for the residents of Willows Estate, it’s the reaction she sees from residents when they’re enjoying a meal she’s created that truly makes her job fulfilling, she says.

“I like making them happy and seeing them eat,” she says. “When I see them eat, it makes me happy.”

Asked what her favourite meal is to cook for residents, Denise says she can’t pin down just one. All that matters, she says, is that the residents love the meals they are served.

“I like making everything, and everything I make I think the residents enjoy,” she says.

Denise’s supervisor, nutritional care manager Jeffrey Peters, says Denise is an “excellent” cook and he applauds her ability to learn new things quickly.

“Her adaptability was so good; it was like she had been working here for years,” he says. “She is very attentive, very teachable, (and) if you teach her something she will just take it and run with it.”

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