James Dakin

Role: Cook

Location: Edinburgh & Lothians,

Address: Waverley Care Milestone, 113 Oxgangs Road North, Edinburgh, EH14 1EB

Phone: 0131 441 6989

James joined Waverley Care in 2014 and is one of our chefs at Milestone. We caught up with him recently to find out a bit more about him and his work.

What was your background before coming to work with us?

I’ve been a chef for 25 years, the majority of which I spent in restaurants in both my native Australia and in Europe. I settled in Edinburgh 10 years ago and made the switch from restaurants to catering in order to start a family and have a life with them.

What’s a typical day in the Milestone kitchen?

As soon as I walk into the kitchen in the morning it’s all go. The shift
starts with a kitchen inspection and deliveries, and then it’s straight into preparing the food. We offer lunch, afternoon tea and evening meals and it can be a juggling act to make sure that food is ready to go at the right times. Between serving our service users, visitors, volunteers and staff (both for Waverley Care and our neighbours at Penumbra), I need to sort out menu plans and stock orders for the days ahead. There are usually two or three of us working which makes a huge difference, particularly when the dishes pile up! On top of the regular work, we also cater for any events taking place at Milestone and we’re regularly called on to prepare cakes for birthdays and other celebrations. As busy as it is, I generally go home around 6.30pm satisfied and happy with my day’s work.

Are there any special dietary requirements for people living with HIV or Hepatitis C?

Dietary requirements are very much based on the individual. HIV and
Hepatitis C have some bearing, and it’s extremely rare that a day goes by without having to prepare special foods. When planning our menus, we try to accommodate a healthy eating mantra, avoiding the chef’s instinct to throw in more butter!

What’s the most popular dish on the menu?

That’s easy, our Sunday roasts.

What’s your favourite memory of working for Waverley Care?

The first time I ever celebrated Halloween was at Milestone in 2014.
Australians don’t do Halloween as it’s not in our culture, so it was a new experience for me and a fun evening all round.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I keep myself really busy. I’m on the committee of the Currie, Balerno &
District Round Table, which raises money putting on local events and
donates it back into the community. I’m also an avid curler and play for Uphall Curling Club.

Who is your favourite author?

Scotland’s very own, Ian Rankin. A brilliant writer in many ways.

What are your favourite TV shows/films?

TV: Comedy, South Park; Drama, The Good Wife; Interest, Australian
Masterchef; Sci-fi, Babylon 5; Movie, The Living Dead.

Who inspires you?

Honestly, I draw inspiration from everyday people living everyday lives.
Life is one challenge after another, it’s not easy, but we do it anyway, and that’s got to be inspirational!