Kind-hearted cook who’s raised thousands for charity wins prestigious accolade

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A young cook who was teased for not being able to boil an egg at the beginning of her career won a silver award at the social care Oscars.

Telhia Jones, 25, began working in the kitchen at Greenhill Manor Care Home, Merthyr Tydfil, five years ago.

Telhia Jones
Telhia Jones

After embracing the challenge to learn to cook she is now hailed as a master baker by friends, colleagues and residents alike.

Her culinary efforts have now been rewarded and she scooped the silver award at the Wales Care Awards in the Excellence in Catering category, sponsored by Harlech Foodservice.

This year marked the 15th anniversary of the awards, and Telhia made the short journey to City Hall, Cardiff, on October 19, for the glittering ceremony, sponsored by Onyx Healthcare. The occasion had particular significance this year because it marked the 25th anniversary of Care Forum Wales, who organise the awards.

“I was very excited and overwhelmed to be shortlisted, and I couldn’t wait for the ceremony,” said Telhia.

“I couldn’t boil an egg when I started, but I can do pretty much anything now!”

Telhia, who started off as a bank kitchen assistant and worked her way up to senior kitchen assistant, is now an accomplished cook, much to the delight of her colleagues and the home’s 120 residents.

The whole care home team, from kitchen to care to management were involved in Telhia’s nomination for the award, and they are all particularly proud of Telhia’s charitable efforts.

Lian Pearsall, Hospitality Manager, said: “Telhia contributes through the home by getting involved in bake sales, where she will make cakes and cookies, and along with the residents, sell them to raise profits.

“On a personal level, she also cooks meals in her own home to donate to the charity, along with paying from her own pocket for accommodation especially during the colder months.

“She’s remarkable.”

Telhia explained: “Every year at Christmas I help raise money for the homeless shelter in Merthyr Tydfil.

“I cook a meal at home to donate to the shelter, and I also pay for a homeless person to have a bed for the night in a hotel.

“I transfer the money over, the charity books the room, and those who donate don’t get to find out who it was they helped but making a difference to someone is a lovely feeling.

“I also did a cake sale for a little girl who lives near me who’s known as The Rainbow Princess. When she was 4 she needed money to go to America to have treatment for cancer.”

Telhia’s comfort food and specialities of pies, crumbles, cakes, and Sunday lunches, are very popular amongst the residents, and are frequently requested.

Lian Pearsall, added: “Telhia is passionate about every dish that leaves the kitchen as she has a great amount of pride in what she does.

“She is becoming a wonderful baker and cake maker contributing to the home’s vision of everything being homemade.”

Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists have receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.

“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.

“We take our hats off to them.”