John Grover wins NACC 2018 Care Chef of the Year competition

care, chef, prize
Mark Taylor of Premier Foods; Sophie Murray, deputy chair, NACC; John Grover, NACC Care Chef of the Year 2018; Bev Puxley, head judge
07/06/2018 - 09:26
The National Association of Care Catering 2018 Care Chef of the Year first prize was yesterday awarded to John Grover.

He beat 11 other finalists from across the UK at the competition final, held at Barking and Dagenham College’s Technical Skills Academy.

Grover works at Auchtercrag House Care Home in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Commenting on his victory, he said: “I’m elated. Four years I’ve been trying. This one’s been over a year in planning.

“I looked at the dishes. I thought, there’s not much better than that. I know it tastes good because I’ve done it that many times. I know I’ve got everything there for a care home environment – I’ve got texture, colour and nutrition. It’s all there.”

Martin McKee of The Hawthorns, Aldridge, took second place in the final, with Brian Gollan of Ivybank House Care Home, Polmont, Falkirk, coming third.

Brian Gollan was awarded ‘Highly Commended Main’ and David Oswin of Loxley Park, Sheffield, took the certificate for ‘Highly Commended Dessert’.

On the day, Grover’s main was lamb with black pudding and herbs.

For pudding, he served up a chocolate and raspberry fondant cheesecake with caramel port cream.

The judges were impressed with Grover’s inventive use of classic ingredients and also commended his superb use of inexpensive produce. His knowledge and understanding of the nutritional needs of care home residents was also praised.

The National Chef of the Year culinary competition seeks out the UK’s best care sector chef. 

Entrants are required to create a nutritionally-balanced main and dessert, suitable for service users in a care setting. The combined food cost must be no more than £2.25 per head, based on three portions, and it is to be produced in just 90 minutes.

NACC deputy chair Sophie Murray spoke of the residents for whom the food is considered. She said: “They’re there for life. You’ve got to get the food right for them because we know how easily people can become nutritionally vulnerable. As soon as people start losing weight, the impact on their health is huge. It’s those sort of responsibilities that our chefs carry.”

Roger Kellow, one of the event’s organisers, added: “The competition shines a light on quality of work that takes place in the care sector that often people don’t really appreciate.”

The competition was sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Cooks and Premier Foods. The judges were: Bev Puxley, head judge; Drew Chipps, chef lecturer, Barking and Dagenham Technical Skills Academy; Andrew Archer, managing director, Dewberry Redpoint; Sue Dunk, editor, Care Home Catering; Louise Wagstaff, senior culinary advisor, Premier Foods; Alison Smith, prescribing support dietitian, NHS; and Stuart Middleton, NACC Care Chef of the Year 2017. 

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