An entertainer at a care home in Bishopsteignton, Devon, has added another string to his bow by retraining as the care home’s chef.
Before the pandemic, Neil Tebay, a classically trained organist, had been entertaining residents at Moors Park House care home by singing and playing the keyboard.
The 50-year-old had been performing at the care home once a fortnight since 2008.
The musician said his life ‘changed dramatically’ after the Covid-19 pandemic hit last spring. Neil has always had a passion for cooking and when lockdown and Covid restrictions meant he could not entertain the residents, an unexpected opportunity presented itself.
“It was actually the head chef at the care home, Andrew, who inspired me to retrain as a chef,” explained Neil.
“I’d gone to the care home to entertain the residents, but it was just as the second lockdown went into force and I wasn’t able to perform. I was sat outside when Andrew asked if I’d be interested in training to become a chef so I could work with him in the kitchen. I jumped at the chance.
“I still love performing and I’m really lucky to be in the perfect place where I can do both. The residents are a brilliant audience, they love my songs and luckily they also love my cooking!”
Neil received full training at Moors Park House and now works 22-hours per week as second chef in the 37-bed care home’s busy kitchen. Neil still loves performing for the residents once a fortnight and says he plays ‘everything from Greensleeves to Bruno Mars’.
Linda Lowe, manager at Moors Park House, added: “Neil is an incredibly dedicated and multi-talented member of staff and is an asset to the catering team, helping to provide nutritious meals for all our residents.
“We pride ourselves on our food, everything is cooked fresh from scratch in our kitchen, which has a level 5 food hygiene rating.
“Not many of us could jump between delivering pitch-perfect songs in front of an audience to wearing chef whites, but Neil does it brilliantly. He brings a lot of joy to our residents, now through his food as well as his music. Always enthusiastic, Neil is the first person to volunteer to dress up at Christmas. We couldn’t be without him.”