Chef cooks up menu to take UK care title

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A Wetherby-based chef has won the prestigious title Best Care Cook in the UK at the National Association of Care Catering awards.

Simon Lawrence leads the chefs at Hadrian Healthcare Group’s nine homes across the north of England, working from the newest luxury development Wetherby Manor.

Based at the group’s newest luxury care development Wetherby Manor in the centre of Wetherby, Yorkshire, Simon leads the chefs at the group’s nine care homes across the north of England.

He said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to have won the title.

“This is the third year I’ve entered, the standard is incredibly high and the competition is fierce.

“It’s a real pleasure to compete with people who really care about what they do.”

The judges praised Simon’s thoughtful and organised approach.

And they enthused about the great flavours of his winning menu of oat crumbed mackerel and sweet potato fish cakes served with pea puree and roasted thyme potatoes with a home-made horseradish sauce, followed by pannacotta with roasted rhubarb and caramelised fig. Simon’s menu also received the Highly Commended Main award.

Ian Watson, owner and chairman of Hadrian Healthcare Group said: “This national accolade is without doubt well deserved. Simon’s culinary knowledge and passion for quality, variety and presentation are demonstrated every day and he’s an inspiration to our catering team, helping all our residents to live well and healthily.”

Simon began his career in the Royal Navy, joining straight from school as a junior cook. He progressed to leading cook, catering for the ship’s officers who at one point included HRH Prince Andrew.

He has worked as a head chef in restaurant and college catering, and in catering training for seven years. Simon won the National Care Awards Chef of the Year title in 2010.

The NACC Care Cook of the Year Competition challenges chefs and cooks to push themselves, honing their skills and knowledge, and demonstrating culinary flair.

It is one of the longest-standing independent recipe competitions in the UK.