Daniel Inglis’ talents go way beyond the kitchen he heads up at Balhousie St Ronan’s Care Home in Dundee. As well as overseeing the catering and nutrition of 70 residents every day, Daniel is a mentor to chefs and cooks across the 26-strong company.

He provides training for new chefs and advises them on menu development. He also acts as a consultant to head office and operations staff on food cost management and suppliers. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he was being recognised in the local press and in community awards for his charity work and support for young people, including those in care.

He found a way to continue these efforts, even during lockdown. They have included:

  • Festive Friends 2020, a project with Dundee United Community Trust providing meals and grocery bags for hundreds of people in Dundee over Christmas;
  • Working with DUCT to deliver Burns Suppers to people living on their own in the community;
  • In an extension of a cookery class and life skills programme he ran with Swiis Foster Care in Dundee, giving virtual cooking classes to the youngsters via Skype;
  • Preparing 800 sandwiches a week for distribution to food banks across Dundee, in association with the charity Social Bite.

Says Denise McCorkindale, Home Manager at Balhousie St Ronans: “Daniel goes the extra mile, literally. With the sandwich making for Social Bite he personally visited food banks to ensure they got everything they needed. He is considering extending his cooking classes to foster carers, by popular demand.”

She adds: “He is a master of multi-taking, often running the kitchen and managing staff while instructing participants in the online class at the same time!”

In 2020, Daniel Inglis was a well-deserved finalist in the Evening Telegraph Dundee’s Champion Awards.

His work with Swiis has helped young people to build essential life skills. He began a series of cookery classes for them, covering everything from cooking their favourite dishes to budgeting and CV writing. Hosting the weekly sessions in the kitchens at St Ronans, Daniel didn’t let the lockdown stop him finding a way to continue helping those young people, coming up with a solution that enabled the sessions to continue to run virtually via Skype.

Each participant is sent a box of ingredients, ‘Hello Fresh’ style, for the online class and Daniel talks them through the steps remotely, offering tips as they follow the recipe together.

Another benefit from the online sessions is that they have reached more young people as Swiis Foster Care have been able to post some of Daniel’s classes on their website which can be accessed with a special QR code. Responding to demand, Daniel is hoping to organise a one-off session for the carers as well.

One of the young people from Swiis Foster Care who was struggling at school is now working in the kitchen with Daniel with plans for a career in hospitality. Swiis Foster Care Dundee are hoping the success of Daniel’s life skills classes will inspire their other regions to find similar partnerships in their areas.

Sandy McLeod, Education Worker at Swiis Foster Care Dundee, said: “Daniel’s classes are really popular with our foster children. He has great attendance every week, even remotely. His classes are superb and he is a master of multi-taking, often running his home’s kitchen and giving guidance to staff while instructing participants in the online class at the same time! His enthusiasm is second to none and I can’t praise Daniel and St Ronans’ home manager Denise McCorkindale enough for everything they have done for us.”

Adds Denise: “Daniel is a real asset to the Dundee community as someone who goes over and above to give back to the city.”

Daniel said: “I don’t teach people for credit or thanks, I do it because I love passing on what other chefs have taught me over the years. In catering there is no better feeling. This group is doing just great; I’m really impressed with their enthusiasm. Two of them are already interested in catering as a career.”

 Daniel (centre) with participants and volunteers from Swiis Foster Care, and Denise McCorkindale third from right.