Success for Avery at NACC Care Chef of The Year 2019
The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Care Chef of the Year competition provides a unique opportunity for chefs working in a care setting to showcase their culinary talents, help raise the profile of the home and operator that they work for, and to join the exclusive club of title holders to be crowned Care Chef of the Year. Sponsored by Premier Foods and the Worshipful Company of Cooks, it is the longest-standing care sector chef’s competition in the UK that continually challenges those chefs in the sector to devise, innovative and develop exciting recipes for the client group.
The competition challenges entrants to create a two-course menu (main and dessert) that is suitable for service users in a care setting. The combined food cost for both courses should be no more than £2.25 per head and it must be nutritionally balanced. The menu must also incorporate one of the listed Premier Foods products and be produced in just 90 minutes.
For the past five years, Avery has actively encouraged and developed our chefs to compete in this competition, and in that time our amazing chefs have competed in every single final. This year the team went further with three of our chefs competing in the National Finals, with four of them having succeeded in the Regional Finals and all of them winning regional awards.
Emilio Pascucci (Astbury Manor Care Home) and Phil Meyer (Pemberley House Care Home) went head to head in the South Region Final, both walking away with individual awards; it was Emilio who won through overall and secured a place in the National Final. David Oswin (Loxley Park Assisted Living) was a finalist for the second time and won the North Regionals, and Martin McKee (Hawthorns Care Home, Aldridge), in his third consecutive National Final and runner up in 2017, won the Midlands Region. A tremendous effort by the chefs and stunning outcome to have three in the National Finals.
The Day of the Finals
The stage was set for an exhilarating day in Stratford-upon-Avon on 5th June with all three chefs slightly nervous, but excited, and proud to be representing Avery. They did not disappoint as Avery ambassadors, delivering a real masterclass with their dishes and craft skills; they pushed the boundaries of care catering with their creativity, flair and passion.
The judges praised their thoughtful and innovative approach, enthusing about the winning flavours and in-depth knowledge on nutrition and food safety. Avery approached the event as a team, and the support and cooperation amongst all three chefs were exemplary. It was genuinely fantastic to have one of the team, Martin McKee, win the prestigious first place to become NACC Care Chef Of The Year, 2019. Martin was also awarded Highly Commended Main too.
Martin’s winning dishes were:
Main: Pan roasted cod, potatoes fondant, with garden peas and vegetables with sauce vierge.
Dessert: white chocolate, lemon & thyme mouse, rosemary shortbread with sherbet and raspberry.
The judges were impressed by Martin’s all-around approach, from his knowledge to the excellent results achieved. Head Judge Bev Puxley said: “His presentation was right, the taste was right and his understanding of the suitability for his clients was spot on.”
Martin McKee said on winning: “I’m speechless! I’m overwhelmed, especially after seeing the standard peak on this my fourth year of competing. I’m absolutely honoured to have won; it has been four years in the making. Avery has been a driving force for me to succeed, and also for other care chefs – they had three chefs in this final!”
Our warmest congratulations to all three chefs for their commitment and effort in winning their Regional Finals and doing so well in National Finals. Emilio and David have been inspired by Martin and are already planning for next year. Well done Chefs!
Article by Simon Lawrence, Group Culinary Manager
Martin joins many of our other fantastic staff who have recently celebrated awards, including those who were part of our Avery Awards Celebration 2019. If you are interested in joining our Avery team, you can find out more on our careers website.