After an intense Grand Final ‘Live Cook Off’ on 24 July, Elior UK’s care subsidiary Caterplus named Gary Topping its 2019 Care Chef of the Year. Taking place at the Luton Electrolux Kitchen, the internal competition invited all care chefs working within any UK Elior business, rewarding brilliant creative talent in care catering.
Seven finalists from different sites across the UK were tasked with creating an innovative two-course menu suitable for service in a care restaurant within a budget of just £2.25 a head. One of the courses had to be a level four texture modified puree dish.
It was Gary Topping who impressed the judges with his ballotine of woodland chicken with fondant potato, crispy skin, radish, butternut squash puree, sautéed leeks and chestnut mushrooms and a stock rosemary reduction. His dessert, a summer fruits pudding served with Chantilly cream, Greek yoghurt and pistachio showed his creative flair – a perfect example of colourful, fresh texture modified food packed with flavour.
Darren Neal, executive chef at Caterplus said: “In its first year, the Caterplus Chef of the Year competition empowers our team to push boundaries of what is possible, proving that requirements such as texture modified foods can still be delicious, varied and colourful. A huge congratulations to Gary – his dishes were a brilliant example of our impressive, flexible and tailored care offering.”
Gary Topping, chef manager at Barnaby House Thirteen Group said: “I’m delighted to be named Chef of the Year, especially after competing against such talented chefs. I really enjoy cooking in a care setting – each menu is a new opportunity to liven our customers’ taste buds and get them excited about food.”
Aside from the coveted Caterplus Chef of the Year trophy, Gary was rewarded with £200 and afternoon tea at The Ritz.