An Anglesey care home’s senior chef who is so determined to please the people she caters for that she regularly has fresh smoked salmon specially flown in for them from the Outer Hebrides has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.
Delyth Taylor, who admits that she spends more time at Gwyddfor in Holyhead than at home in nearby Valley village, also gives up hours of her own time virtually every day to order in new food supplies online for the residents who she looks upon as part of her own family.
It is this dedication to her caring role that has landed 41-year-old Delyth a place in the final of major national competition, the 2019 Wales Care Awards.
The glittering presentation ceremony will be held at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday October 18, hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.
The awards are in association with Care Forum Wales, a not-for-profit organisation which is celebrating its own 26th anniversary this year after being set up in 1993 to give independent care providers a single professional voice with which to speak on one of the most important issues of our time – how to provide better quality care for those who need it most.
Delyth, who is single and has two children, John Paul, 23, and 18-year-old Emily, is shortlisted for the Excellence in Catering Award.
Born and raised in Valley, Delyth’s first job after leaving the village high school at the age of 16 was as a production worker in a local electrical components factory where she stayed for 15 years.
When the factory closed she took a year out to be with her children and on her return to work started as a carer with Gwyddfor in Bodedern, which currently has 27 residents, some with dementia.
Within her first six months she became interested in obtaining qualifications and was enrolled on to the NVQ 2 which she completed. She quickly went on to complete the Level 3 Award in Health and Social Care.
Delyth has worked in various posts including night care and also being a qualified Senior Social Care Practitioner often covers these shifts.
However, her real passion is catering and this was rewarded in 2013 when she was offered the full-time post of chef.
She was the lead person in setting up the home’s Safer Food, Better Business policy and Gwyddfor has held the maximum food hygiene rating of 5 since 2013. This achievement is down to Delyth’s commitment to ensuring that staff members comply with the requirements of her Safer Food, Better Business policy. She also trains all new staff before they enter her kitchen.
In recent years she has successfully completed both Levels 2 and 3 in Hospitality and Catering.
In her quest to serve up only the very best to residents she has arranged with a supplier in the Outer Hebrides to have fresh supplies of the finest smoked salmon flown in once a month.
She said: “It comes into the local post office in an ice box from where we pick it up. Some of the residents absolutely love it which is why I do it – nothing’s too good for them, I reckon.
“I work in the kitchen alone although I do get some help from the other staff at times.
“We need fresh supplies virtually every day which means I’m always online putting in the orders, sometimes from home. It seems I spend most of my time working but I don’t mind because I absolutely love it.
“The residents treat me as part of their family and I look upon them as being just like my parents or grandparents. I like to give them exactly what they want to eat and go round taking their individual orders before meals just like in a restaurant.”
Delyth added: “I have to say I was a bit embarrassed at first about being nominated for the award because I’m someone who just likes to get on with the job without making any fuss. But I’m also very happy about it and the residents are made up for me too, bless them!
“I’m looking forward to going down to Cardiff for the presentation evening but I’m still deciding what to wear as I’m someone who feels most comfortable in jeans.”
In nominating Delyth for the award a senior manager at Gwyddfor says of her: “She works from a five-weekly rotating menu which she is constantly altering depending upon the residents likes and dislikes. She maintains a list of personal tastes on the Gwyddfor Care Plan database.
“Menu choices are always offered, and nothing is too much trouble for Delyth. Short notice requests are always catered for and she is constantly researching new dishes for our residents.
“Delyth’s knowledge of nutritional needs of the elderly is second to none. She is constantly devising new meals and menus to keep abreast of the latest advice from NHS Wales etc. She also maintains an allergy list on the Gwyddfor Care plan database and was principle in assuring that this facility was incorporated into the system.”
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.
He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.
“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.
“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.
“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.
“It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”