Brian Preston of Lister House, Royal British Legion has been crowned National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Care Chef of the Year 2023.
Brain’s success was announced and celebrated last night (Thursday 5th October) in front of NACC members and guests at the NACC gala awards dinner held at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, which is part of the NACC Training & Development Forum 2023.
Nigel Cooke, Eastcote Park, Cinnamon Care Collection and Jessica Vreede, Guthrie House Edinburgh, Four Seasons Health Care took second and third places, respectively.
The exciting national final unfolded on Wednesday 4th October at the Manor Cookery School, Grantham. In just 90 minutes, the line-up of talented finalists showcased their culinary skills and specialist knowledge to impress the panel of expert judges, led by Head Judge, Steve Munkley.
The judges were looking for clear nutritional understanding of the foods being used and how they support the needs of their clientele, plus culinary flair through flavours, menu balance, execution, presentation, and hygiene and waste management best practice.
Preston excelled across the board, impressing the judges with his mouth-watering menu of Breast of chicken with black pudding and apricots, Toffee apple pudding with cinnamon ice cream. Head judge, Steve Munkley said: “
Head judge, Steve Munkley said: “This has been my second year as the chair of judges and the new marking system looked at the nutritional content and sustainability as well as the taste and presentation of the food. All three played a large part in coming to the final verdict.
“At the regional heats we gave every chef the opportunity of constructive feedback. Without exception, everyone stayed on to hear what the judges had to say. I am pleased to see that in many cases the dishes presented in the final had significantly improved.
“It was good to see chefs coming back from previous years as they were all interested in improving their skills, which can only be a positive for their residents. Again, this year the chefs raised the bar for quality and standard of both the skills shown and food served to the judges.”
Daiel Bree, Hartwood House, Cinnamon Care Collection was also awarded Highly Commended Main for his Chalk stream trout, madras style sauce, nigella seed and leek bhaji and turmeric potatoes, wilted spinach and coriander oil, and Brian Preston scooped Highly Commended Dessert for his Toffee Apple Pudding.
Hygiene and waste management best practice was also recognised, with Christopher Mitchley, St John’s House awarded the Hygiene Award and Kasia Hab-Bialkowska, of Highmarket House Care Home, Care UK presented with the Waste Management Award.
Sue Cawthray, the NACC’s National Chair, said: “Each year the standard of this competition seems to get higher and higher. I am full of admiration for all the contestants, particularly those who have returned after attempts in previous years. It shows that they continually seek to improve their performance, which ultimately benefits those residents within their care.
“Care chefs play an important part in the wellbeing of our residents. The vital role of good food and nutrition as a fundamental part of quality care has never been more important, especially as we are working our way through the current cost of living crisis. Once again, the standards of this year’s competition have 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 use their talent and specialist knowledge to help care for the elderly and vulnerable through the provision of delicious and nutritious food.”