Chef Sean Wilde, 41, at Borrage House care home in Ripon, is celebrating this week after winning a place in a national final of a catering competition.

Sean is one of the seven chefs who will now go through to the Grand Final of Anchor’s Chef of the Year competition on 5 September after his menu proved to be top class.

As part of the competition, Sean organised taster sessions with residents from Borrage House to see which two-course menu would best represent the home. His competition entry also included a meal for residents with dysphagia who have eating difficulties. 

Sean will now take part in a two-hour cook-off at the competition kitchens at University College Birmingham against the six other finalists in front of the judges and well-wishers in the gallery.

He will then submit his dishes to the critical eyes and taste buds of a panel of Anchor judges: National Care Quality Manager Rob Martin, Catering Manager Richard Herne, who specialises in catering for those with dysphagia, and Head of Care Maria Bamford.  

The finalists will be judged on the presentation, flavour and the originality of their two menus, which all had to be prepared from fresh, seasonal ingredients. All the dishes were examples of food the chefs serve to residents in their care homes.

Sean prepared the following for the competition: poached lemon and deal cod mousse wrapped in salmon with spinach, pesto mashed potatoes with pan-fried tomatoes followed by crème caramel.

Sean, who has worked at Borrage House for two years following a 26-year career in the hotel sector, said he was excited about reaching the finals, especially as he was competing against equally experienced chefs.

He said: “This challenge is good fun and it benefits the residents living in Anchor’s care homes as it further pushes us to produce better and more creative meals for them when we decide on the week’s menu.

“This is the first time I’ve entered this competition as this is my first job in the care sector. It’s so much better than working in the hotel business. I now get time to see my three-year-old daughter, Lottie, after work before she goes to bed.”

Competition organiser Andy Seal, from Anchor’s service delivery team, said: “We pride ourselves on the high standards of our catering service and Sean has shown that we have every right to be proud. 

“The chefs’ dishes were all delicious and well presented, making the judges’ task very difficult. All the chefs’ work shows just how good care home catering can be when there are passionate, skilled people in the kitchen.

“And it’s a great career – many chefs come to us because of the social hours they work and the big difference they make to older people’s lives.

“Sean is now facing the top chefs in Anchor so the competition will be tough.”

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