Craig Etches

Executive Chef

“Making residents happy is my favourite part of the job,” he says. “I see them every day and follow up on every single meal.”

As Glengara Care’s Executive Chef, Craig’s passion for fresh produce, seasonal flavours and a resident-led menu helps set the community apart from traditional aged care.

As well as preparing five fresh meals a day, Craig sources fresh produce from Glengara Retirement Village’s community garden and schedules regular themed events to inspire the tantalising menu. “Making residents happy is my favourite part of the job,” he says. “I see them every day and follow up on every single meal.”

After spending several years in managerial roles, overseeing large commercial kitchens and diverse operational teams in aged care, Craig relishes being back in the kitchen.

He loves being actively involved, talking to residents to find out what they’d like to see on the menu, and bringing that to life in his culinary creations.

Craig tailors the menu to account for individual preferences, dietary needs and seasonal availability. He knows every resident by name and sits down with them each month to get their feedback.

After consultation with the community, he has incorporated Sunday roasts, Friday fish and chips, and regular barbecues into the menu. He even changed the type of prawns he buys because the residents requested “quality over quantity”.

“I’m hands on at every stage of the process,” says Craig. “We have two retirement village residents who have volunteered to look after the community vegie garden. I talk to them about what’s coming into season, they plant seasonal produce, and I plan the menu accordingly.

“I’ll then pick the herbs and vegies, taste the food as I go, and see it all come together when the residents sit down to eat. Making their day and seeing their faces as they enjoy my food is the best.”

Craig takes considerable pride in his work and says the food at Glengara Care is “restaurant quality” and as good as anything you’d get from the best eateries on the Central Coast.

When Craig isn’t cooking up a storm, you’ll find him spending time with his family or being adventurous – his favourite weekend activities are mountain biking, outdoor sports and jet skiing!

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