The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) has expanded its annual Care Cook of the Year competition, for which entries are now open.
The number of national finalists in the competition for 2014 has doubled from six to twelve, and the prize has also grown to reflect this increased size. It now comprises a trophy, £600 prize money, a set of kitchen knives, a Blixer 2 blender, a place at the NACC National Training and Development Forum 2014, and the title of NACC Best Care Cook of the Year.
Judging takes place at one of six regional cook-offs, where entrants have 90 minutes to create their dishes before being judged on criteria such as innovation, taste, menu balance, nutrition guidelines, costing and suitability for the requirements of the care environment. The most successful two will then battle it out for the coveted title in the grand final on 11 June 2014.
The closing date for entries is Friday 14 February. Entry forms are available on the NACC website.
National chair of the NACC Neel Radia said: "Catering within the care sector requires very specific knowledge and skills. There are a number of factors that care caterers need to fully understand and consider when planning menus for the elderly and vulnerable entrusted to their care.
"The NACC Care Cook of the Year Competition gives chefs and cooks in the sector the opportunity to showcase their talents, demonstrate best practice, and push themselves and their abilities even further."
Last year's winner was Simon Lawrence, executive chef for Hadrian Healthcare Group at Wetherby Manor, who was praised by the judges for his menu of oat crumbed mackerel with pea puree, thyme potatoes and horseradish sauce, followed by pannacotta with roasted rhubarb and caramelised fig.
Simon Lawrence is NACC Care Cook of the Year 2013 >>