Chef cooks up winning recipe

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A Wetherby care home chef has been crowned Care Cook of the Year 2015.

Oliver Smith, who works at Hadrian Healthcare Group’s Wetherby Manor, won the coveted National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Care Cook of the Year.

Oliver fought off fierce competition to clinch the top prize thanks to his winning menu of pork tenderloin, celeriac purée, crispy potatoes and apple followed by chocolate mousse with beetroot.

And he impressed the judges with his well-balanced menu that tasted great and was fun to eat. He also demonstrated innovative use of beetroot in the dessert, great cooking of the pork and delivered on a nutrition front.

Oliver said: “I am overwhelmed that I have won, especially within a group of such talented and like-minded chefs. The food they all produced was amazing.

“I absolutely loved the opportunity to meet other chefs and get an insight into what they do and their opinions. It really has been an incredible experience.

“My residents have all tried my winning dishes so they will be thrilled that I have won.”

Neel Radia, National Chair, NACC, said: “What a fantastic national final. Congratulations to Oliver.

“The competition was fierce and Oliver proved that he is at the top of his game and a superb ambassador for catering in the care sector.

“Catering for care environments requires specific skills, knowledge and commitment to ensure that the dietary and nutritional needs of the elderly and vulnerable are met.

“Important factors such as nutrition, budget restrictions, specific dietary requirements and needs, such as dementia, dysphagia and fortification, menu planning and regulations must be understood.

“On top of this, they must also possess the culinary ability and creativity to consistently create great-tasting and attractive food that keeps service users excited.

“It’s clear from every stage of the competition that these vital skills are present in abundance in care settings across the UK.”

One of the longest-standing independent recipe competitions in the UK, the NACC Care Cook of the Year competition raises the profile of the care catering sector as an exciting career choice and champions those working within it.

Open to all chefs and cooks in the care sector entrants are required to create a delicious and nutritionally balanced two-course menu, main and dessert, suitable for care home residents for £1.50 each.