The culinary talents of a Sanctuary Care chef in Yarnton have once again secured her victory in the organisation’s prestigious annual cookery contest.
Competing against finalists from Sanctuary Care’s homes across the country Marcella Field, chef manager at Yarnton Residential and Nursing Home in Rutten Lane has been crowned the organisation’s Chef of the Year 2017.
Her winning menu, prepared for judges during a 90-minute cook-off, comprised a roasted poussin with fondant potatoes and seasonal vegetables for the main course. This was followed by a rhubarb syllabub, made with white wine, ginger syrup and fresh champagne rhubarb, served with a vanilla tuile biscuit for dessert.
Her prizes following the final, which took place at sponsor Unilever Food Solutions’ head office in Surrey last week, were £250 for coming first place and a chef’s knife set, donated by supplier Bidfood, for delivering the best presented menu.
Following her fourth win in the eight years the competition has been running, Marcella said: “It was wonderful to achieve first place again.
“It was fantastic to do something I am so passionate about and all my residents were so happy that I won.
“As my menu was based on a modern roast dinner, I’m looking forward to recreating it for them soon as I’m sure they’ll really enjoy it.”
Speaking about preparing food for residents at Yarnton, where she manages the catering team, she said: “The dining experience is a really important part of the day for so many of our residents and I always make sure I put my heart and soul into everything I do. I love it when I get positive feedback from them.
“Of course you are only as good as your team and they are fantastic.”
Entrants were challenged with creating a main course and dessert which would be suitable for people in a care setting. Their dishes were judged on innovation, nutrition, balance and of course taste.
Coming in second place was Bhanuben Patel, Chef Manager at Aashna House Residential Care Home in London with her masala dosa with paneer tikka, followed by coconut and mango barfi. Bhanuben received a special mention for her exquisite dessert, which scored top marks from every judge - the first time this has ever happened in the competition.
In third place came Dean Blaber, Chef Manager from The Beeches Residential Care Home in Birmingham, with pan fried sea bass and seafood risotto, and vanilla pana cotta with a strawberry soup with sweet basil.
Sanctuary Care’s Director of Care Operations and one of this year’s judges, Stephen Rees said: “Our Chef of the Year competition is one of the highlights of the year as it truly showcases the amazing talent we have in our catering teams across Sanctuary Care. Our chefs and their teams work so hard every day to ensure our residents’ mealtimes are a wonderful experience that they can all enjoy and I’m very proud we have such amazing talent in our care homes.”
Jean Cattanach from Unilever said: “It was great to be able to welcome Sanctuary Care back to Unilever for the annual competition. We are delighted to help raise the profile of the chefs and how important they are in care homes up and down the country - they deserve to be recognised and made to feel special for the amazing difference they make to residents.”