Edinburgh based Graham Watson has been crowned Care UK’s Care Home Chef of the Year.
Graham, who is head chef at Lauder Lodge, beat off competition from entrants from Care UK’s 119 homes to lift the trophy at the Residential Care Services (RCS) Stars awards ceremony.
Contestants were given a box of 15 ingredients to create a two course menu. Graham’s menu consisted of chicken supreme stuffed with chorizo and chili rice cracker powder, classic fondant potato, butternut puree and a fig and red wine jus followed by and Oreo crumb and chocolate torte with brittle sugar and pineapple salsa.
Graham said: “I love working in care homes, it presents a unique set of challenges to a chef. We work in what is our residents’ home and there is nothing more personal than food – it allows people to express their preference, their past and their individuality and it is our job to cater to all of that.”
The panel of judges said it was Graham’s willingness to challenge himself and set a new standard in the care home sector which tilted the balance in his favour in the hard-fought contest.
The awards also recognised the team at Ferndown Manor, in Poole, for their commitment to creating an excellent daily dining experience for their 75 residents.
A recent CQC inspection report praised the home that is known for its five-star dining experience. Inspectors praised their attractive table settings, which take into account individual requirements, and their great attention to detail that ensures each resident has not just a choice but also a dignified choice.