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5 minutes with... Ellen Ashin Assistant head cook at Newholme Hospital

It’s time to spend 5 minutes with our assistant head cook at Newholme Hospital and find out a little more about Ellen Ashin.

Could you tell me a little about your role and responsibilities?

I’m the assistant head cook here at Newholme Hospital and have worked here for 14 years and I love it!

We cook breakfast, dinner and tea for all the wards here (Rowsley, Riverside and Stanton Day Hospital), the staff that come into the dining room and more recently, we prepare meals for the patients and staff at Whitworth Hospital too. Approximately 90% of our meals are all made fresh on site!

Does working in a kitchen everyday make you hungry?! What is your favourite  meal?

Not really – because you can never decide what you want for your  dinner!

I don’t actually cook at home either; luckily my husband does all of the cooking. I love chilli and rice, curries, veg and pasta – spicy food is my favourite. I would have to say an Indian takeaway! But let’s not forget about a good traditional roast dinner…

We’ve heard you have returned to college to take your GCSE Maths – tell us more, how is it going?

Yes, I started in September 2016 and go to Buxton and Leek College for two hours every Tuesday evening. It’s going well thank you, I have just completed my exams and get my results in August – fingers crossed! I love working  with numbers.

We’ve got our fingers crossed for you! So what made you decide to do this?

When the Better Care Closer to Home (BCCTH) consultation was first announced last year, it really made me think about where next for me. I have always worked as a cook and in the catering industry since leaving school. I didn’t have any other qualifications, so thought it was a good time to broaden my knowledge and skill set as you never know what the future holds!

It’s great to see you embracing change so positively Ellen, how has it made you feel?

Thanks, I feel like I have a really positive attitude towards it all. I think you can either sit there and wait, or go out and get it! I am ready for a new challenge and opportunity; and although it can be scary and daunting, for me it’s about looking at  things differently.

So, how do you keep yourself busy outside of work? If college in the evenings wasn’t enough!!

Well where to start… we have a National Trust membership so are often out and about exploring, we also have a caravan and like to go away for the weekend when we are both off work together. But this year we are going on a cruise around the Spanish coast in November – I can’t wait to get dressed up for all of the black tie evenings!

If you could change places for one day with anyone in DCHS who would you pick, and why?

Tricky one! I spend a lot of time on the online Oracle ordering system and on the phone to our procurement colleagues, so I would like to go and shadow them to see what it is like behind the scenes! Of course, if I could change places with anyone in any job, I would love to be a fashion designer for the Royal Ascot!

Finally Ellen, do you say ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner’ or ‘breakfast, dinner and tea’?!

Breakfast, dinner and tea!