Oak House Kitchen
Partners Preston Walker and James Ball set up Oak House Kitchen in 2017 to provide catering consultancy and training in the healthcare sector. Meeting in 2013, James and Preston collaborated on a number of projects to develop the quality food and training within health and social care. James joined Preston and the team at Oak House Residential Home in 2015. Since then the working relationship has really taken off.
Working closely together every day, Preston and James test, develop and refine ideas. Improvements are put into practice on site, within the context of an operational care home. These ‘real world’ improvements have impacted on the lives of the residents at Oak House Residential Home. Through work outside of the care home many more people have benefited.
Word of mouth has brought many businesses, organisations and healthcare professionals looking for advice, support and training. Premier Foods, Nutricia, Care UK and Quantum Care are among some of the businesses. The Hospital Caterers Association, National Association of Care Caterers, Greenwich CCG, Hampshire County Council, Barnet and Southgate College and Hospitality House among some of the organisations.
Oak House Kitchen takes its name from the establishment where it was founded. Their ethos is to constantly question current standards and innovate solutions. Making improvements to impact on the quality of life of everybody.
Preston is an award winning chef with 25 years experience. Working at his family business Oak House, Preston strives to improve the standards of cooking across the sector. With expertise in special diets and nutrition for the elderly, he regularly provides training and guidance to individuals and professional organisations.
As director of Oak House Residential Home, Preston and the team provide residential care for the elderly. Originally the smallest care home in the smallest county, Rutland, Oak House operated 3 bedrooms. The home has expanded over the years and now provides facilities for 25 guests. Preston has fond memories growing up with the business as a child and teenager. He moved in to a full time role in 2008. Oak House’s approach to care has seen them win various accolades over the years.
Preston came from a fine dining background working in restaurants throughout the UK. Starting his career at the Michelin starred Hambleton Hall. He followed this with stints at the Kildare Hotel & Country Club and Harts Restaurant. As Head Chef at World Service Restaurant he and the team won Nottingham Restaurant of the Year 4 times.
James is a self-taught chef with a background in science and training. Late into the hospitality industry his passion for good food quickly led him through the ranks to head chef. He entered healthcare kitchen management in 2010 and saw the need for improved standards and training.
Researching the many specialised diets needed, it became clear that chefs in the sector needed a career path with specific training. James became involved in the conception and development of an NVQ to formalise the training of chefs working in healthcare. With expertise in catering for the elderly and modified foods, James is regularly involved in sector specific training and development.
With a degree in Sports Science and Nutrition, James dedicated his early years to coaching hockey. Since entering the hospitality industry he has worked as head chef and managed restaurants. He has experience in a range of care settings.