“I worked in the hotels in Ireland, then worked my way up. Then my husband decided he wanted to come to Australia so we packed up and came here,” Anne explains.
Immigrating to Australia in 1986, Anne continued to build her cooking career, starting out at Bentley Hospital.
Following a brief return to Ireland, Anne moved back to Australia and landed her role working as a chef in an Aged Care home, where she would oversee the preparation and cooking of more than 48,000 meals a month.
“I prefer to work in a nursing homes because you have more one-on-one contact,” she says.
“You can go and see the residents and have a chat with them and see what they like and what they don’t like, I like to know that I’ve made them a nice meal and that they’ve enjoyed it.”
Joining MercyCare almost two years ago as the head chef at Maddington Residential Aged Care Home, where she is affectionately known by MercyCare staff and residents as Breda.
Drawing from year four decades of experience as a chef, Breda has been tasked with overhauling the menu to provide more choice for the resident, which will in turn enhance the overall dining experience.
Residents choose meals from a five-week rotational menu that is based around seasonal ingredients.
When it comes to prepping food, Breda is a firm believer in using fresh ingredients and making meals from scratch.
“The menu is a five-week cycle, giving residents a lot more choice and variety to choose from,” Breda says.
Breda sought regular feedback from residents to help shape and personalise the menu to their tastes.
“We’re trying to stick with what our residents like. I did a survey and I asked the residents and the families what they’d like they’d like to have so that’s what’s gone on the new menu,” Breda says.
“Basically, the roasts and the fish and chips are the (favourites) on the menu, so they will stay, but everything else can change around a little bit.”
Regularly engaging with the residents has also helped Breda form connections with residents, which has even led to one-on-one cooking sessions with residents who are passion about food.
“I did a couple of sessions with Barry, who was a chef,” she says.
“He missed cooking and one of the things he wanted to do was beef wellington.
“And Barry will talk about when he was a chef in the armed forces, so it’s good, you get a bit of interaction with them in that way now.”