Chef Julian Dedman, 41, at Silver Court care home in East Grinstead, is celebrating this week after winning a place in a national final of a catering competition.

Julian 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, Julian organised taster sessions with residents from Silver Court 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. 

Julian will now take part in a two-hour cook-off at the competition kitchens as 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.

Julian prepared the following for the competition: slow roasted Bulgarian pork shoulder with fine braised cabbage and creamed potato followed by raspberry and white chocolate cheese cake drizzled with raspberry coulis.

Julian, who has worked for Anchor for 13 years, said he was delighted to have reached 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 ultimately as it further pushes us to produce better and more creative meals for them when we decide on the week’s menu.

“The residents enjoyed the taster session and they thought my casserole was a winning recipe. They liked it because even though it is from a different country, it’s very homely and satisfying.”

Competition organiser Andy Seal, from Anchor’s service delivery team, said: “We pride ourselves on the high standards of our catering service and Julian 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.

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

For more information on Silver Court, contact 0800 731 2020.

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