The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) declared Martin McKee of The Hawthorns, Aldridge, the NACC Care Chef of the Year 2019, yesterday, following a closely fought national final.
Stratford-upon-Avon College provided a new venue for the final of the prestigious culinary competition. With a purpose-built viewing gallery, the audience of supporters and industry colleagues watched the excitement unfold as the talented finalists showcased their culinary skills, creativity and knowledge in the specialist field of care catering under the judges’ expert eyes.
The standard of competition was incredibly high, but Martin stood out to take the coveted title with his excellent menu of Pan roast cod, fondant potatoes, garden peas and vegetables with sauce vierge and a dessert of white chocolate, lemon and thyme mousse, rosemary shortbread with sherbet and raspberry.
The judges were impressed by Martin’s all-round approach, from his knowledge to the excellent results achieved. Head Judge Bev Puxley said: “His presentation was right, the taste was right and his understanding of the suitability for his clients was spot on.”
Martin McKee said on winning: “I’m speechless! I’m overwhelmed, especially after seeing the standard peak on this my fourth year of competing. I’m absolutely honoured to have won; it has been four years in the making. Avery has been a driving force for me to succeed, and also for other care chefs – they had three chefs in this final!”
Tim Ware of Green Tree Court, Exeter, took second place, with Carl Weston of Cuffley Manor Care Home, Potters Bar, taking third place.
Martin McKee was also awarded Highly Commended Main and Graham Watson of Lauder Lodge, Edinburgh, took the certificate for Highly Commended Dessert.
The competition challenges entrants to create a two-course menu (main and dessert) that is suitable for service users in a care setting. The combined food cost for both courses should be no more than £2.25 per head and it must be nutritionally balanced.