Heather Vale care home Chef reaches finals of Chef of the Year competition
A chef from a care home in Chesterfield has beaten off rivals to secure a place in the finals of a national catering competition.
Neil Furniss, 32, who has worked at Heather Vale care home in Heather Vale Road, Hasland, for seven years, said he was thrilled to be among the top chefs in Anchor’s Chef of the Year award.
Catering Assistant Neil will now face seven finalists from Anchor care homes across the country – many of whom are more experienced than him - to see who gains the top place in the competition.
Each finalist will have two hours at the Grand Final on 5 September to prepare a fortified snack, which is packed with nutritious ingredients which help maintain residents’ healthy weights, and a two-course meal.
The menu Neil will be making for the final will be: cheese and bacon scones for his fortified snack while the main course will be cheesy sweet potato-topped cottage pie with a lemon and lime tart served with cream for dessert.
He said: “I was overwhelmed to win a place in the final as I’m up against more experienced chefs than me. I’m still trying to get my head round it.
“The strength of my menu is that it’s feel good, nourishing food which the residents really enjoy. I chose the lemon and lime tart as they like lemon meringue and I thought I would try sweet potato mash for the cottage pie as something different.
“I was so pleased when the residents gave the thumbs up to the menu. I now hope the judges like the menu, too.
“I go into work every day wanting to make the residents the best meals they can have to keep them healthy so they can enjoy the rest of the day’s activities at Heather Vale.”
Competition judge and organiser Richard Herne, Anchor’s Catering Manager, said: “The Chef of the Year competition is highly competitive as the top chefs from Anchor’s 114 care homes fight it out to gain this prestigious title.
“Meals are an important milestone in the lives of our residents so making sure that we continually improve our standards is essential. The Chef of the Year helps with that as it’s an opportunity for our chefs to share ideas and recipes.
“Encouraging residents to eat a wholesome and seasonal diet which they enjoy helps them lead happy and healthy lives.”
For more information about food in Anchor’s care homes, visit www.anchor.org.uk