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Company News, Astbury Manor, Bracknell

Care Chefs Handling the Heat

Simon Lawrence, Director of Culinary and Hospitality, closely aided by Gareth Cartledge, Group Head of Culinary and Hospitality, are passionate about the support they provide to Avery’s chefs nationwide, including cutlery-free dining options that enable residents to savour nutritious meals independently. All chefs have a thorough understanding of how to adapt foods to accommodate allergies and dietary requirements, and our teams undergo continuous training to ensure they build on their skills to create exciting new meals for residents to enjoy.

The passion of our chefs to deliver excellent meals has enabled them to compete nationally. Hawthorns Northampton Head Chef, Chris Burd, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Care Chef of the Year Awards for 2023, Head Chef Emilio Pascucci at Astbury Manor Care Home in Bracknell, Care Chef of the Year in the 25th National Care Awards (NCA), and Gareth Cartledge, Group Head of Culinary and Hospitality, nominated for Catering Manager of the Year in the NACC awards.

As the longest-standing care chef competition in the UK, the NACC awards challenge those who work within the care and retirement living sector to devise innovative and exciting recipes, meeting the nutritional needs of their clientele. The awards also highlight the excellence achieved by those working in the sector nationally.

The Hawthorns Northampton Head Chef: Chris Burd

Chris took part in the regional heats of the 2023 NACC Awards at Leicester College on 12th June where he was required to create a two-course menu comprising a main course and dessert. Chris created a pan-fried lemon sole fillet, potato rosti, petit pois à la Francais, broad beans, mussel sauce and poached egg for the main course. He served a chocolate and orange Jaffa cake mousse for dessert, orange gel with sponge cake, toasted hazelnuts, and orange segments.

Chris has held his position of Head Chef for a year, where his expertise and culinary prowess have been instrumental in elevating residents dining experiences. Before joining the team in early 2022, Chris gained valuable experience working at renowned 2AA rosette restaurants and a prestigious hotel. He states, “I use experience from my previous roles and travels worldwide to create varied, seasonal, and nutritionally balanced meals for our residents and ensure they take an active role in creating seasonal menus. The menu I created for the competition is nutritionally dense without sacrificing flavour or presentation. Both dishes represent the foods we serve daily at the Hawthorns Northampton and feature vegetables grown in our gardens. I very much enjoyed taking part in the competition.”

HAW NN Head Chef Chris Burd


Astbury Manor Care Home Head Chef: Emilio Pascucci

Head Chef Emilio has worked at Astbury Manor since the home was commissioned six years ago. He began his career as a Pot Washer at 14 and came to Astbury Manor Care Home with a wealth of knowledge from the hospitality industry, having worked as a chef in several highly commended restaurants. His enthusiasm and passion for delivering quality have enabled him to transfer his skills to the care sector, and he shows an exceptional ability to provide well-balanced, nutritious meals.

Emilio was nominated to receive the Care Chef of the Year award in the 25th NCA for his impressive knowledge and skillset. He strives to incorporate the needs and desires of each resident, whether he’s developing menus alongside residents and considering their feedback or preparing their favourite homemade puddings as a treat. He understands the important role food and mealtimes play in the lives of residents and takes time to listen to the likes and preferences of each resident.

Emilio also skilfully adapts everyday meals into cutlery-free options for residents. The vast array of meals includes spiced tortillas, rich potato cakes with mackerel and coriander, pulled pork and apple croquettes and a variety of arancini. Desserts range from choux buns to banana cake and mini chocolate tarts. He also caters for a resident with multiple food intolerances, providing a bespoke range of daily meals adapted to her requirements.

Astbury Manor takes pride in providing residents with diverse themed activities and events. Whether it’s the sizzling delights of summer barbeques, the heartwarming feasts of winter roasts, or our exciting ‘Around the World’ themed days, Emilio blends unique flavour profiles and fusions to offer residents the opportunity to savour a delightful array of cuisines from different cultures.

Staff and residents at Astbury Manor talk of how lucky they are to have a kind, caring, talented chef. who is, as they describe, “an inspiration to us all.” A recent review from a relative stated, “Mum is a resident of the memory care suite at Astbury Manor. She now enjoys eating again; the meals are appetising, nutritious, and well thought out. Great care is taken to make each mealtime an event, everyone comes together to chat in the dining room, and there are flowers on the tables. The home is a community.”


Emilio Astbury Manor Head Chef

Group Head of Culinary and Hospitality: Gareth Cartledge

Since joining the Avery Group team in 2019, Gareth has played a crucial role in shaping the strategic direction of food management, and he is passionate about bettering the lives of Avery residents.

Working directly with Chefs and Home Managers, Gareth implemented an internal Environmental Health Officer (EHO) audit. By monitoring commitment to improving food safety and quality within the homes, he ensured 100% of our homes achieved 5-star ratings in 2022. Gareth also oversees the internal audit of independent living residences, the Hawthorns, to ensure they meet the Hospitality Assured Audit criteria by following world-class processes, customer service standards, and employee engagement.

Gareth also played a pivotal role in developing Avery’s cutlery-free dining initiative, developing the concept of finger food, introducing menus for those with difficulty manipulating cutlery, and ensuring an inclusive and dignified dining experience for all.  His hard work has been recognised at the recent CHA awards in 2022 and 2023 for Best Dining and Nutrition. His mentorship has also enabled others to be recognised, including Champa Misty of Birchwood Grange Care Home in Harrow, who won Vegetarian Care Chef of the Year. Birchwood Grange was presented with the Beulah Charity Trust Special Recognition Award at the Vegetarian for Life Awards. Gareth has been nominated for Catering Manager of the Year at the NACC awards for his drive, passion, and inspiring leadership.