The National Association of Care Catering’s (NACC) Care Chef of the Year 2024 competition has opened for entries, officially starting this year’s search for the best chef working in the care sector.

About the Event

The prestigious competition has been celebrating the culinary talent across the care sector for 24 years. Open to all chefs and cooks working in care settings, it recognises, showcases and celebrates their sector-specific knowledge, skills and flair.

The NACC Care Chef of the Year 2024 competition is once again kindly supported by Unilever Food Solutions as the main sponsor and event sponsor The Worshipful Company of Cooks.

Focusing on the importance of food, nutrition and positive mealtime experiences as part of quality care, entrants are challenged to create an appealing and delicious two-course menu (main and dessert) appropriate for people in a care setting. The combined food cost for both courses should be no more than £4.50 per head based on three portions and it must be nutritionally balanced. The menu must also feature at least one product from Unilever Food Solutions’ sector-relevant catering range.

How the Competition will be Judged

All paper entries will be judged by a professional judging panel and the successful chefs that make it through to the next stage will compete at the regional heats in June 2024. Here they will have 90 minutes to produce their dishes and demonstrate their skill set and knowledge under the watchful eyes of the competition judges. The judges will be looking for clear nutritional understanding of the foods they are using and how they benefit the needs of their clientele, plus culinary flair through flavours, menu balance, execution, presentation, and hygiene best practice.

The highest-scoring competitors from each regional heat plus wild cards selected by the judges will compete for the title NACC Care Chef of the Year 2024 at the national finals on Tuesday 1st October at Loughborough College.

Quotes from the Experts:

Neel Radia, National Chair of the NACC, said: “I always look forward to this competition as it is one of the best opportunities of highlighting the fantastic skills of the innovative and creative chefs who find such job satisfaction working within the care sector. It is also an inspiration to others who may be thinking of embarking on a worthwhile career in care catering.

“Great dining experiences are at the heart of everything we do, so there is no better occasion to showcase our talented chefs from around the country.

“The competition will again be overseen by the amazing head judge, Steve Munkley, who provides constructive feedback after each regional heat. That alone such be enough to encourage everyone to enter and celebrate the culinary excellence the care sector offers. I wish anyone who enters the best of luck.”

James Birch, Customer Development Chef at Unilever Food Solutions, said: “We are very excited and proud to continue our sponsorship of the NACC Care Chef of the Year competition in 2024. This competition provides a great opportunity for care chefs around the country to showcase their skills and raise the profile of care catering.

“Our team at Unilever Food Solutions is delighted to be working alongside chefs within the care sector to ensure that every mealtime is the highlight of the residents’ day, be that supporting with activities to nutritionally analysed recipes, training, inspiration and competitions like this. We look forward to seeing how this year’s competitors rise to the challenge and wish them the very best of luck.”

Mr Paul Galpin, Master of the Worshipful Company of Cooks, said: “Once again, the Worshipful Company of Cooks is proud to sponsor and be associated with the NACC competition. For more than 500 years we have been involved in the world of cookery; initially being responsible for standards of catering and hygiene in the City of London and more recently closely engaged, through our support for competitions such as this one, in encouraging chefs to achieve high standards that they can then take back into their workplace. We are heartened to witness the year on year raising of standards and skills by the competitors.

“To all competitors we send our best wishes and we look forward to being able to host the winner at our annual Prize Winners’ Lunch when you will be able to sit back and enjoy the results of someone else’s hard work. Good luck!”

How to Enter

Find out more information on this years competition and download the NACC Care Chef of the Year 2024 entry form to enter.