Local Chef Brings Restaurant Experience to Care Home Residents during Lockdown
15 May 2020
While restaurants are closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, one local chef is using his time in furlough to treat residents at a care home in East Belfast to some very special dinners.
Chef Andy Forsyth, who works at the Mourne Seafood Bar in Belfast, has kept his apron and toques on during lockdown to volunteer at Clanmil Housing's Giboney House care home on Mount Merrion Avenue for the past 4 weeks.
Andy is putting his culinary skills to good use, cooking up a storm in the Giboney House kitchen, and brightening up mealtimes for the 14 elderly people who live there.
Residents at Giboney House have been isolating from friends and family since lockdown began. The staff have been helping them use video calls to keep in touch with their loved ones and have been encouraging them to take part in activities to keep their spirits up. Andy's fish and chips have quickly become a major highlight in the residents' week.
Andy's fiancee Tammy works as a Senior Carer at Giboney House. He knew through her that this is a particularly difficult time for residents and he wanted to do something to help. He said:
"Every chef or cook knows that food can bring people together. There's a little bit of magic in food and it can bring back fond memories. A simple meal of fish and chips, not forgetting some mushy peas, can remind people of the seaside or simply being with their friends and family. These memories are now more important than ever for people who are missing their regular routines and not able to see their loved ones.'
Danielle Dawson, Home Manager at Giboney House, said:
"The residents are absolutely thrilled to have Chef Andy come in and treat them to some special meals. His food is not only nutritious and delicious, but the residents love being able to tell their families about the restaurant quality meal they've enjoyed that day. They feel very lucky. It's something to look forward to and we all need that during this difficult time."
As well as his famous fish and chips, Andy has been serving up a variety of meals, along with homemade cakes and buns, two days each week at Giboney House.
He's really enjoying his new volunteer role. Andy said:
"I've been getting lots of lovely comments from the staff and residents at Giboney House. It's nice to know that I can bring a little joy through something I normally do every day."