The 11 finalists had 90 minutes to produce a two-course menu (main and dessert) suitable for people in a care setting. The combined food costs for both courses had to be a maximum of £2.25 per head and the food had to be nutritionally balanced.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic the finalists competed in a series of online cook-offs that gave the chefs the opportunity to showcase their ‘culinary skills, creativity and care catering knowledge’.
Ware’s winning menu was a butter roast chicken, Bombay potatoes, spinach and shallot bhajis followed by a dessert of poached apricots, coconut and lime espuma and pistachio filo pastry.
Bev Puxley, head judge, 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.
“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.”
Mathew Dodds from Gracewell of Ascot finished in second place and Cheryl Crook from Heol Don Nursing Residential Centre came third.
Dodds was awarded ‘Highly Commended Main’ for his ‘Post-war ration meal’ and James Cotton from Cavendish Park Care Home won ‘Highly Commended Desert’ for his black forest Bakewell tart.
Sue Cawthray, national chair of the NACC, added: “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.”
The NACC Care Chef of the year competition recognises chefs who work in the care sector. Premier Foods and Worshipful Company of Cooks sponsored the 2020 competition.
Mark Taylor, healthcare sector lead at Premier Foods, commented: “It has been such a difficult year for the whole country but particularly in care settings, where nutritious meals are more important than ever.
“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 included:
- 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