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“Everyone is looking out for the residents and seeing how we can improve things for them. We’re always aiming for perfection here,” Kaili Kabikwa, Bethanie Subiaco Cook

We recently marked one year since the former Berrington Como and Subiaco homes became part of the Bethanie community. Over the past year, we have spent time getting to know our wonderful new staff and residents.

Here we find out more about our friendly cook at Bethanie Subiaco, Kaili.

Kaili has always loved food but it wasn’t until a stint as a kitchenhand at a busy restaurant that she decided she wanted to be a chef.

“I learnt a lot working as a kitchenhand,” Kaili said. “I got to understand the pressures of the kitchen and the preparation and organisation that needs to happen so that everything runs smoothly.”

“I just loved it and I knew I was always going to have a career in food.”

She pursued a Diploma in Hospitality and Commercial Cookery and completed her work placement at what was then Berrington, after which she was brought on board as a cook.

Kaili has now been working at the Subiaco residence for three years and says it doesn’t feel like a job but more like a second home.

“If you know the residents are enjoying what you make in the kitchen then you’re no longer just cooking food,” she said. “You put love into the food and at the back of your mind, you’re thinking of each resident, their preferences and you’re cooking for each one of them.”

While Kaili and the rest of the team accommodate residents’ requests and make what they like, they are also very much attuned to the dietary needs and requirements of each resident.

“We understand there are residents with dietary restrictions and we move according to their needs,” Kaili said. “We keep a record of all their requirements which gets updated twice a week and we refer to it regularly.”

Much of Kaili’s time is spent in the kitchen, working hard with the rest of the team to prepare morning and afternoon tea, lunches and dinner and food for any special functions.

No two days are the same, with weekly seasonal menus ensuring there is always variety in the kitchen and on resident’s plates.

Despite the busy schedule, Kaili takes the time to pop out and check that residents and their families are happy with the food. It’s through these interactions that Kaili has shared many special moments with the residents over the years.

“There was once we made oxtail’s soup and a family member came up to me to say ‘thank you so much, it is exactly like how my mum used to make’ and hearing that really gave me the sense of fulfillment of having done something good,” Kaili said.

“Another time it was a resident’s birthday and we had made her a birthday cake from scratch, like we do for all the residents. But the resident didn’t want to come out of her room that day, so instead we brought the cake to her and sang her happy birthday.”

“She was so happy, she started tearing and kept saying thank you so that really touched my heart. I loved that. When they are happy, it makes you happy.”

The care and family spirit that Kaili brings to the role is evident amongst the staff throughout the facility and Kaili praises her colleagues for being accommodating and helpful.

“The people here are loving, they care for you and they listen to your needs,” she said.

“Everyone is looking out for the residents and seeing how we can improve things for them. We’re always aiming for perfection here.”

Read more about Bethanie Subiaco or call 131 151 for more information.

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