Simply the Best!

Care cook scoops top accolade after less than a year in the job

>> A talented cook from Hull has been crowned the NACC Care Cook of the Year after less than a year in the job.

Jennie-May Smith, a chef at Berkeley House Care Home, is now officially the UK’s best care cook after earning the worthy accolade when she secured victory at the National Final of the National Association of Care Catering’s annual competition.

The exciting live action unfolded at the Barking and Dagenham Technical Skills Academy when 12 chefs from the care sector showcased an abundance of culinary talent, knowledge and pure dedication in front of industry colleagues  associations and representatives.

Over 90 minutes of intense competition the finalists pushed themselves to the limit in a final bid to impress the judges with their specially-created care menus, nutritional knowledge and culinary prowess, and claim the top prize.

Jennie-May emerged triumphant against first-class competition thanks to her winning menu of smoked mackerel frittata, followed by lemon posset

with hemp thins and berries. 

The judges particularly praised Jennie-May for the thought that had clearly gone into her dishes and her consistency of presentation.

Giles Conroy of Sunrise Senior Living of Bramhall, Stockport, claimed second place and Highly Commended Main, with Gareth O’Hara of Sunrise Senior Living

of Cardiff taking third place, and Becky Allcorn from Catering Academy Ltd at Rotary Lodge, Worthing, securing Highly Commended Dessert.

Neel Radia, national chair,

NACC, said: “Congratulations to Jennie-May on her incredible and deserved win, and to all the finalists for a simply thrilling final. “This competition really is fantastic. It raises the profile of care catering as a rewarding and viable career choice, but most importantly it gives chefs working in the care sector a rare opportunity to shine and showcase the outstanding talents they possess. 

“All the finalists truly shone and left the judges and audience with no doubt that care catering requires real skill, knowledge, culinary expertise and passion. They are genuine ambassadors for the sector and their colleagues who deliver excellence on a daily basis.”

Thrilled by her win, Jennie-May said: “I am overwhelmed and shocked to have won.  I have only been in the care catering industry for just under a year. I am very thankful for all the support I have received in achieving my win. My residents inspired me as their favourite dish is egg and chips. My menu was developed from this, adding the mackerel to the eggs to increase nutritional content and using sweet potato and swede for the chips.”

One of the longest-standing

independent recipe competitions in the UK, the prestigious NACC Care Cook of the Year competition successfully raises the profile of the care catering sector and champions those working within it. It challenges competitors to devise new and exciting recipes appropriate for a care environment, highlighting the true culinary flair and particular skill sets required to ensure continued excellence and success within the important sector of care catering. 

Open to all chefs and cooks in the care sector (both NACC members and non-members), entrants are required to create a delicious and nutritionally balanced two-course menu, main and dessert, suitable for service users in a care setting and with a total food cost of no more than £1.50 per head based on four portions.

To access Jennie-May’swinning recipe and many others from the Care Cook of the Year competition please visit: