The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) crowned Tim Ware of Green Tree Court Care Home in Exeter the NACC Care Chef of the Year 2020 this afternoon (Wednesday 20 January) at a special online prize giving ceremony.
Second place went to Matthew Dodds of Gracewell of Ascot and Cheryl Crook from Heol Don Nursing Residential Centre took third place.
With Covid-19 still having an enormous impact on us all, the NACC took the decision to bring the postponed national final of its prestigious culinary competition to a close virtually. The finalists competed in a series of online cook-offs that gave each talented chef the opportunity to showcase their culinary skills, creativity and specialist care catering knowledge to the expert judges in the safe environment of their own kitchens.
The finalists adapted to the new format fantastically and the standard of competition was as high as ever. The judges closely watched and spoke to each chef to assess their aptitude in the areas of nutritional understanding relating to their clientele, culinary flair through flavours, menu balance, execution, presentation and hygiene best practice. Designated tasters also ensured the judges had a full appreciation of the taste and texture of each dish.
Tim stood out to take the coveted title with his mouth-watering menu of Butter roast chicken, Bombay potatoes, spinach and shallot bhajis followed by a dessert of poached apricots, coconut and lime espuma and pistachio filo pastry.
Head Judge, Bev Puxley, said: “As chair of judges of this competition for several years, I’ve never ceased to be impressed by the enormous talent and dedication shown by the chefs who work in this hugely important sector of the catering industry. Tim Ware’s Asian dishes were beautifully prepared with aromas that stimulated the palate. The level of spicing was perfect for his care home clientele. This, together with his well-organised method of work, led to his success in a closely fought cook off.”
Matthew Dodds was also awarded Highly Commended Main for his ‘Post-war ration meal’ of poached saddle of rabbit, roasted shallots, baby carrots, crispy kale, fondant potato and tarragon cream sauce and James Cotton of Cavendish Park Care Home by Majesticare took the honour of Highly Commended Dessert for his Black Forest Bakewell tart.
Sue Cawthray, the NACC’s National Chair, said: “Congratulations to Tim Ware on being crowned NACC Care Chef of the Year 2020. In last year’s competition he took second place so it’s wonderful to see that despite all the challenges the past year has thrown at us, he’s continued to develop and progress into the top spot! A huge well done on a fantastic achievement.
“We’re delighted to have been able to bring this wonderful competition to its finale in a safe way. The virtual format worked incredibly well and I thank everyone involved, from the organising and production team to the competitors and judges, for their commitment, agility and positivity.
“Care chefs have played an important part in the pandemic frontline effort. The vital role of good food and nutrition as a fundamental part of quality care has been brought to the fore so we were more determined than ever to find a way to recognise and celebrate care chefs up and down the country through this fantastic competition platform. The standard has been exceptional and is testament to the selfless dedication of care chefs who are driven to deliver excellence for their residents and clients no matter what pressures they face. We’re very proud of all the finalists and every care chef that uses their talent and specialist knowledge to help care for the elderly and vulnerable through the pleasure of delicious and nutritious person-centred food.”
Mark Taylor, Healthcare Sector Lead at Premier Foods, comments: “We are very excited and proud of our sponsorship of the NACC Care Chef of the Year competition, the perfect setting to highlight the exceptional culinary standards executed in care facilities around the UK.
“It has been such a difficult year for the whole country but particularly in care settings, where nutritious meals are more important than ever, which is why we have been so impressed with all of the finalists who make the pressure of providing a nutritious and tasty meal on a tight budget look effortless. Congratulations to Tim Ware and all of the finalists!”
The 2020 Care Chef of the Year finalists*:
- Michael Collins, Blossom Fields Nursing Home, Grove Care
- James Cotton, Cavendish Park Care Home by Majesticare
- Cheryl Crook, Heol Don Nursing Residential Care
- Nellie Dhliwayo, Sunrise of Chorleywood
- Matthew Dodds, Gracewell of Ascot
- Anna Koziarkska, Auchtercrag Care Home, Meallmore Ltd
- Jack Lawson, Bunkers Hill Care Home, United Health Ltd
- Paul O’Brien, St Modans Care Home, Meallmore Ltd
- Brian Preston, Lister House, Royal British Legion
- Carmine Tarquilio, Mardy Park Resource Centre, Monmouthshire County Council
- Tim Ware, Green Tree Court
The finalists had 90 minutes to produce the special two-course menu they had created (main and dessert) that is suitable for service users in a care setting. The competition criteria stated that the combined food cost for both courses was no more than £2.25 per head and it must be nutritionally balanced.