Fred Bjarnson has enjoyed a lengthy career and has now returned to his hometown to take over as the new cook for Abbeyfield House. (Claire Palmer photo)

Fred Bjarnson has enjoyed a lengthy career and has now returned to his hometown to take over as the new cook for Abbeyfield House. (Claire Palmer photo)

Abbeyfield house welcomes new head cook

Fred Bjarnson returns to Golden after 37 years to join the Abbeyfield family

Abbeyfield House has welcomed a new head cook, Fred Bjarnson, to its team.

Bjarnson’s returning to his hometown of Golden after an impressive 37-year career that saw him cook for some of B.C.’s finest guests.

Bjarnson first departed Golden to study at Camosan College on Vancouver Island, before working at places such as the CP hotels, the Lieutenant Governor’s mansion and in Calgary.

He’s served everyone from presidents to kings and queens, to employees of the province who were being recognized for their service.

Now in his 60s, he’s decided to come home to be closer to his family and reconnect with old friends.

“Since I’ve been away for 37 years, it’s fun that I know everybody here. Some were ahead of me in school and some are friends,” said Bjarnson.

“I’ve worked in large scale operations, but this has a different feel.”

Bjarnson understands how important this job is to the residents – good nutrition is always vital to any diet, but especially when you are cooking for seniors.

He says in addition to nutrition, many of seniors at Abbeyfield treat food as a highlight of their day so a good home-cooked meal goes a long way.

“You can’t just give them peanut butter and jam all the time, I try to balance it out and keep it interesting,” said Bjarnson.

“The residents have been very positive and very appreciative and I always like to check in with them on how they like the cooking and how it’s going.”

Bjarnson says he’s always shopping the deals to make sure that the residents are getting the best food possible at the lowest cost.

He tries to make community donations go a long way, welcoming home-grown fruits and vegetables from local gardens if anyone is willing to donate, especially considering the price of groceries these days.

Ann Younger, the president of Abbeyfield House in Golden, says Bjarnson’s efforts go a long way in the communal home.

Both spoke to the camaraderie in the home and the friendships and tight-knit bonds its residents develop and enjoy while living there.

Food is an important part of creating that atmosphere.

Abbeyfield is always looking for donations and volunteers, she says, as there are currently openings on their board to help run the home, which provides an alternative to the government subsidized assisted living facilities.

The Rose garden groom is coming up shortly, on April 26, as Younger says volunteers would be welcome for that event.

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