Chef Kevin works in a care home in Perthshire, Scotland, and the residents of the establishment absolutely love him. No wonder. Not only does he make dishes that look like something straight out of a Michelin-starred restaurant, but he also involves the residents in developing the menu.
The admiration for Kevin's work may have remained local if it wasn't for his younger sister Yvonne. She recently shared photos of the plates the passionate chef has prepared on the Internet and it spread all over the world.
"I am extremely proud of my big brother and we are always discussing food and recipes," Yvonne told Bored Panda. "I have recently become vegan and I work in a nursery so I am always asking him for ideas! When he shared these photos with me, I just thought, 'Wow, I need other people to see what he does.' During this strange time of the COVID-19 lockdown, care homes have had it tough and I just wanted people to see the happiness my brother brings to the residents."
The woman also wanted her brother to see how many people would appreciate what he does if they only had the chance to. And now they have. "Kevin is overwhelmed by all the positive comments that everyone has left. We both hope that his ideas and recipes will inspire others to try out new things within the kitchen," Yvonne said.
"My brother is 42 years old with a very happy, cheerful and easy-going personality," Yvonne said. "He loves to make people laugh and is the kind of person that lights up a room when he walks into it." She added that Kevin is not just a full-time chef but a loving husband and dad to his two children as well.
"He has a busy life juggling all of this but somehow continues to bring love and passion to his cooking."
Kevin became a chef in 1995, straight after leaving school. "I had been working at the local chip shop after school for a couple of years. My cousin who had just become a chef at a hotel outside my town decided he didn’t enjoy it and left. With a little encouragement from my mother, I contacted the hotel to ask if there were any jobs available (secretly knowing that there was) and unlike my cousin, found out that I actually have a passion for cooking," the chef said.
Kevin and his wife, Heather, married in 2005. They decided to go to New Zealand on a working visa for a year-long honeymoon. There, Kevin was offered a job at a retirement home and loved every minute of it.
When the year was up and the couple had to come home, Kevin started looking for a place to work at again, and wouldn't you know it: a care home 10 miles outside his town was looking for a head chef. "The best part of working in care is the interaction with the residents," he explained. "We plan the menus together and we even have tasting sessions which is great fun (this also gives me a chance to try something different for myself and the residents)."
The residents and their families come to the home and together with Kevin, they try out some of the new dishes from the menu. "They all have scorecards and if a new dish scores high, it goes on and if it's bad, we discuss how to change that dish to make it better. The residents always look forward to their meals and it feels good to know that they have had a lovely home-cooked meal."
The chef likes to give them the full dining experience and he puts so much effort into it, sometimes new residents even try to pay for their meal. "The smile on their face when I explain to them that it’s all been paid for. Every day is different and that’s why I love what I do."