May 2020

Community cooking to care home kindness – celebrating our chef, bakery and hospitality student heroes

Read time: approx 3 mins

From cooking meals for the community to working tirelessly in care homes, students from across University College Birmingham’s College of Food and Hospitality Management have been doing far more than valiantly adapting to online study during lockdown.

Domingas Sousa, a Level 2 and 3 Professional Cookery student from Portugal, has been putting her course skills to amazing use by volunteering at All Saints Café in King’s Heath in Birmingham.

Cooking lunches every Monday for those who are either struggling because of isolation or financial hardship during lockdown, she is also working at charity Parks For Play, dedicated to providing outdoor and indoor play for children with and without disabilities.

“Every Saturday, I usually also cook with vulnerable young adults at Maypole Youth Centre, but we can’t do this at the moment because of the virus,” she said.

“Instead, we are doing an online project called Chatterbox, doing something different each week, including showing them how to make a mud kitchen and getting creative with recipes, box crafts and gardening. 

"It keeps me busy and I get to think about other people, which gives me pleasure too.”

Christine Mbokolo, a Level 2 Hospitality student from France, is not only looking after her four children and juggling college work, but is also working four days a week at Cedarwood Care Centre in Erdington.

Valentina Nichifor, an International Hospitality Business Management foundation degree student from Romania, is also helping the most vulnerable as a key worker at The Heaven Nursing Home in Coventry.

Meanwhile, Jake Jones, a Bakery and Patisserie Technology foundation degree student from the UK, has been making sure residents receive exceptional hospitality service at Birchmere Mews Care Home in Solihull, where he works as a food and beverage team member.

As part of this, he has just made one resident’s birthday by making a glorious, surprise blue and white celebration cake using the skills he has learned to date at University College Birmingham.

Jake said: “Things at the moment are tough, but all the staff in the home have pulled together as a team to maintain the high standards and to keep our residents happy and comfortable.”

And Krisztina Szigeti, a Hospitality and Tourism Management foundation degree student from Hungary, is now in her eighth week of working long night shifts as a cleaning supervisor at a key warehouse.

Neil Rippington, Dean of the College of Food and Hospitality Management at University College Birmingham, said: “We know that lots of our students are working in the NHS and care sector or are a key worker in another profession.

“This is just a small sample of students that are balancing their studies while doing amazing jobs in these challenging times.

“We are very proud of them all.”

University College Birmingham offers a variety of courses relating to relating to food and hospitality. Discover our range of courses within our College of Food and Hospitality Management here and follow the latest updates on Twitter – @UCBfoodcourses and @UCBHospitality.

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