Marcella Field, chef manager at Yarnton Residential and Nursing Home in Yarnton, Oxfordshire, went head to head with seven colleagues from across the organisation in a 90-minute cook-off to win the final of Sanctuary Care’s Chef of the Year Competition.
Marcella dished up a mouth-watering menu of lamb cooked two ways – a miniature shepherd’s pie and pan-fried lamb cutlet – with dauphinoise potatoes, baby vegetables and a red current jus. Marcella’s prizewinning dessert was a tarte au citron finished off with summer fruit coulis and an artistic chocolate decoration.
The competition, which was sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions and held at their head office in Surrey, has been running for six years and is open to cooks and chefs from Sanctuary Care’s homes across the country.
Entrants were tasked with creating a main course and dessert which would be suitable for people in a care setting. Their dishes were judged on innovation, nutrition, balance and of course taste.
“I think it is so important to have competitions like this, not only to showcase our creative flair, but also to help break the taboo of care catering. The teams atSanctuary Care’s homes work hard to make nutritious, high quality food for our residents and it’s a joy to see the enjoyment they get from the dishes we prepare.”
Mark Ord, Sanctuary Care’s hospitality support manager, added: “The standard of entries this year was outstanding and our chefs should be so proud of themselves. They are a shining example of what can be achieved if you have flare and passion and I am so proud to have them as part of our team.
“Care catering is an area of the catering industry which doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves and competitions like this are a wonderful way to show how talented and creative our chefs truly are.”
Unilever’s Food Solutions’ culinary development chef and top judge, Paul Wright, continued: “It was a privilege to judge Sanctuary Care’s competition. I’m thrilled to be part of an event that encourages and supports great culinary standards, as ultimately they help more people thrive in care.”
Concluding with her top three tips for aspiring cooks in the catering field, Marcella said: “My cooking always comes from the heart – my three tips for anyone who works with food is to be passionate, put 110% into everything you do and to think about how you would like to see a plate of food for the first time!”
The panel of judges comprised Mark McCarthy, Sanctuary Care’s Managing Director, Tom Parramore, Sanctuary Care’s Regional Director, Cathy Amos, business manager for health care at Brakes’ Brothers and Paul Wright.