Jennie-May Smith is NACC Care Cook of the Year 2014

Jennie-May Smith is NACC Care Cook of the Year 2014

Jennie-May Smith, kitchen manager for Hadrian Healthcare Group at Berkeley House, has been named the best care cook in the UK.

Smith clinched victory in the final of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Care Cook of the Year 2014 competition, held today.

She saw off stiff competition with her two-course menu of smoked mackerel frittata with roasted root chips and probiotic beets, followed by lemon posset with hemp thins and berries.

Meanwhile Giles Conroy from Sunrise Senior Living of Bramhall was highly commended for his main course of "Back to the seaside", made up of fish (plaice, sea bass and crab) cooked three ways.

Catering Academy's Becky Allcorn, who works at Hanover Rotary Lodge, won highly commended dessert for her gluten-free blueberry and almond tart.

Winner Smith said she was shocked and overwhelmed by her success and welcomed the increased profile the competition gave the the care catering sector, which she joined less than a year ago.

"My menu was inspired by my residents," she added. "They love egg and chips so I took that idea and tried pack as much nutrition into it as I could."

Her nominator, Simon Lawrence (also pictured), was named Care Cook of the Year 2013.

Now in its 15th year, the NACC Care Cook of the Year competition rewards excellence in care catering.

All entrants were required to create a nutritionally-balanced, innovative and delicious two-course menu, main and dessert, that is suitable for customers in a care environment. Other criteria included a set budget of £1.50 per person, and the meal must be produced in 90 minutes.

Innovation, costing, suitability for the environment, adherence to nutritional guidelines, taste and overall menu balance were the key attributes being looked for by the judges.

Neel Radia, national chair of the NACC, offered his congratulations to Smith Lawrence, adding: "The competition really is fantastic. It raises the profile of care catering as a rewarding and viable career choice, but more importantly it gives chefs working in the care sector a rare opportunity to shine and showcase the outstanding talents they possess.

"All 12 finalists truly shone and left the judges and audience with no doubt that care catering requires real skill, knowledge, culinary expertise and passion."

This year saw the number of finalists doubled to 12 for the first time.

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