Care center chef cooks for residents by eating 4,000 calories a day

Most chefs need to be fully aware of food allergies when cooking for diners in restaurants.

But, working at a health center in Aberdeen, chef Sean Kilgour also has to learn about hundreds of different health issues.

Every day he prepares meals for the 44 residents living at Dee View Court diagnosed with a range of neurological conditions – all of whom have different dietary requirements.

And that, says Sean, can leave even the most seasoned chefs with unique challenges.

What is the most unusual dish he has been asked to create?

Dee View Court in Aberdeen operated by Sue Ryder, one of the care home providers concerned about energy bills
Dee View Court in Kincorth, Aberdeen, is operated by Sue Ryder. Image: Scott Baxter/DC Thomson

Many residents prefer traditional food like hash and tatties, but Sean and his team like to give each dish a twist to create variety when they can.

The chefs at the health center have also created an Around the World in 80 Days series exploring different cuisines.

Each day consists of serving breakfast followed by two three-course meals to residents diagnosed with complex conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and motor neuron disease.

Watch our video below to find out why some residents need 4,000 calories a day

Some follow soft diets and rely on pureed foods, while others may eat regular meals prepared in a slow cooker to tenderize all the ingredients.

Chatting with residents is an important part of Sean’s role and the Chief and his team all know each resident by name.

They are even aware of their favorite foods and often respond to unusual requests.

“Someone even asked for spam donuts the other day,” says the head of the care center.

“I don’t think I had even cooked with spam before, so this was new to me!”

The head of the care center faced his own health issues…

Sean started working at the Sue Ryder Center in Kincorth in May last year after being made redundant from his role in a catering business during Covid.

Just weeks after losing his job, he spent time in hospital undergoing double hip surgery.

“I had osteoarthritis in my hips,” he explains. “I played a lot of football when I was younger, so I just thought it was wear and tear.

“I had been living with it for a few years and got into it.

Chef Sean Kilgour prepares many different dishes for residents.
Chef Sean Kilgour prepares many different dishes for residents. Image: Sue Ryder Charity

“But it got to the point where the pain was unbearable and I had an x-ray and found out I needed both hips replaced.”

Sean spent four months recovering from surgery focusing on physiotherapy to get back into shape before taking on his role with Sue Ryder.

He joined a great team of employees who worked hard during the pandemic to find creative ways to help residents.

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