Bringing People Together with Food


Three Counties Chef Martyn knows the power of food – for your health, growth, and general nutrition. But it is also something he believes can bring you great comfort. Martyn shares his experience and passion for working in the kitchen and at Acorns for the last 16 years.

At the hospice, the kitchen is right in the centre- the heart of the home. There’s a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere here and I get to watch it all from my hatch as I plan the day.

Planning is really important in a kitchen and even more so at Acorns. The children have a variety of conditions which come with their own dietary needs, so we need to ensure we can adapt our menus and how we prepare their meal.

Some children may be on specific diets, they may have an allergy, or they may need their food blended. So, I start my day talking with the nursing staff to see who is with us. I’ll then have a look at the days menu and make any changes for each child.

At Acorns we have a Summer and Winter menu to fit in with what’s in season. Every five weeks, I’ll sit down to look at the menu- change it around, take things off and add things on. It’s really important that we have a balanced diet. I also like to include traditional favourites to give that home from home feel. Fridays is usually a fish and chip supper and if you’re in on a Sunday, you’ll be treated to one of my roast dinners!

I like to use local produce and suppliers, and during the summer our children and health care assistants have fun planting a vegetable patch in the garden. It’s absolutely fantastic because I can use what they grow. It really keeps the cost down.

We don’t just cater for the children that are staying here with us. We also cater for the whole family – that could be mum, dad, grandad, brothers, and sisters – anyone from the child’s family who is in that day.

It’s really important to get them involved in the mealtime because it’s such a key part of homelife. Seeing everyone coming together is just magical.

I’ve worked at Acorns for 16 years and I absolutely love my job. There isn’t a day I go home feeling sad because seeing everyone relaxed and enjoy their food is very rewarding.