By David Shrimpton
Meals on wheels providers have issued a challenge to Antony Worrall Thompson after the celebrity chef rubbished their lunches in a Sunday newspaper article.
Tasting a selection of reheated frozen meals, Worrall Thompson described them as "gruesome", "disgusting" and "like pond life". Even his golden retriever Trevor turned his nose up at one dish, according to the report in The Observer.
But Roger Denton, chairman of the Advisory Body for Social Services Catering, said the highly -paid chef did not know what he was talking about. "I shall be writing to Mr Worrall Thompson. For Meals On Wheels Day I want him out delivering meals so he can see what happens in the real world."
Denton said his own dog would probably not want to eat a £15 dish from one of Worrall Thompson's restaurants and pointed out that many welfare meals, in contrast, cost just £1.50.
The newspaper also reported that some councils had found meals to be low in vitamin C and high in fat - claims again attacked by Denton. "Their information is flawed," he said. Vitamin C can disappear between the time a meal is reheated and the time it is served, and councils used vitamin supplements to counter this.
The fact that some meals contained more fat than stated on the packaging was unfortunate but inevitable, he added. "I'm more concerned if people are not eating at all, if they're not receiving meals, or if they are found lying dead on the floor because nobody's been round to see them for 10 days."
- Meals on Wheels Day takes place on 4 November.