Creativity was the catch of the day for Rose Court Care Home’s Kitchen Assistant in masterclass at BLeah Jackson, Kitchen Assistant at HC-One’s Rose Court Care Home in Radcliffe, Manchester, recently had the opportunity to take part in a specialist masterclass with renowned chef CJ Jackson in London’s historic Billingsgate Fish Market.

Leah Jackson, who has been working at the care home since September 2021, was nominated to take part in the day by Leanne Batten-Smith, Home Manager at Rose Court Care Home, in recognition of her outstanding passion and the dedication Leah has shown to developing her skills in providing nutritious food and kind care to Residents living at Rose Court Care Home.

Leah and five other Kitchen Assistants who work at other HC-One care homes across the UK, developed their expertise in older people’s catering, as they were shown the best ways to prepare fresh fish by CJ Jackson, who has been the Principal and Chief Executive of the prestigious Billingsgate Seafood School for 20 years and has a number of popular recipe books.

There are many benefits to including different fish in older people’s diets, including research that suggests that oily fish can contribute towards slowing down of dementia symptoms. As the next generation of care home catering professionals, the Kitchen Assistants enjoyed discussing these various benefits with Jackson during their tour of the market and private masterclass.

Things heated up in the kitchen when the group went head-to-head in their own Ready Steady Cook style challenge: creating a fresh fish dish in 45 minutes with only five ingredients, using everything they had learned from their masterclass.

Leah Jackson, Kitchen Assistant from Rose Court was crowned the winner by judges CJ Jackson, Mark Meacham (HC-One Head of Catering and Housekeeping Support Services), Chris Bonner (HC-One Executive Chef and Nutrition and Hydration Lead), Jamie Clews (from HC-One’s catering suppliers Robot Coupe), and James Tugendhat, HC-One’s Chief Executive. Leah won a £50 Red Letter Days voucher for her impressive winning of pan-fried smoked mackerel with a pine nut oil with roasted root vegetables and courgette chips.
The training day comes as HC-One have developed a new programme of progression for their catering Colleagues across their 269 homes, including through their Group Development Chef scheme. The scheme supports catering Colleagues of any level to progress to senior roles with additional leadership, strategy and innovation responsibilities.

Leah Jackson, Kitchen Assistant from Rose Court Care Home, said:

“The training day and experience has really boosted my confidence in diving into the unknown, meeting new people and especially CJ Jackson. My favourite part of the day was obviously winning the competition, but also the experience and to spend the time with such passionate chefs, learning from their knowledge and experience and it was a real buzz. I am currently completing my ‘Production Chef Level 2’.”
Mark Meacham, Head of Catering and Housekeeping Support Services at HC-One, commented:

“The Kitchen Assistant training and development day at Billingsgate Market was a great success. Thank you to everyone involved including Robot Coupe for sponsoring the day and to CJ Jackson for providing such excellent and informative sessions. The day has provided an opportunity to recognise the hard work and dedication of Leah and some of our other fantastic Kitchen Assistants who are such vital parts of our care homes. It was a joy to be able to provide them with the chance to learn and expand their knowledge as we support them to go from strength-to-strength in care home catering careers.”