The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) has officially launched its search for the best chef working in the care sector. The NACC Care Chef of the Year 2021 competition opened for entries today.

All chefs and cooks working across the care sector1 can enter the prestigious culinary competition that recognises, showcases and celebrates their talent and sector-specific knowledge and skills.

The entry brochure can be downloaded at and the deadline for entries is Friday 30 April 2021.

The NACC is also delighted to announce that Unilever Food Solutions is the new main sponsor of the competition. The Worshipful Company of Cooks remains an event sponsor, continuing its support of 11 years.

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 £2.25 per head based on three portions and it must be nutritionally balanced. The menu must also feature a product from Unilever Food Solutions’ sector-relevant portfolio2.

In addition, in a move that highlights the importance of cleanliness and hygiene best practice in the care sector and as a key factor for success in the competition, the NACC has reintroduced the Hygiene Award, which will be sponsored by the Unilever Professional Cleaning range.

All paper entries will be judged by a central judging panel and successful chefs will be invited to compete at the regional heats in June 20213. 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, of course, hygiene best practice.

The two highest-scoring competitors from each regional heat will secure a coveted place in the national final on Wednesday 6 October 20213 at Stratford-upon-Avon College.

Sue Cawthray, National Chair of the NACC, said: “It’s wonderful to be able to announce the launch of the NACC Care Chef of the Year competition for 2021. And what’s even better, is that there is also the real hope that this year’s event will unfold in person.

“This fantastic competition is so important to our work that raises awareness of the value of the care catering sector and the profile of the incredibly talented, knowledgeable and dedicated chefs within it. This has never been so important. It has been a challenging year for everyone, especially those on the frontline. As well as propelling the importance of the care sector to the forefront of consciousness, the pandemic has put a much-needed spotlight on the vital link between good food and nutrition and good care and wellbeing. It is important that we keep the momentum around this conversation and that’s exactly what our competition can do, whilst also celebrating care chefs and giving them the opportunities to develop both professionally and personally.

“We are also delighted to be working with Unilever Food Solutions as the main sponsor. Our sponsors are essential to the ongoing success of the competition and we are grateful to Unilever Food Solutions for joining us and to the Worshipful Company of Cooks for their continued support. I look forward to an exciting competition ahead!”

Alex Hall, Executive Chef at Unilever Food Solutions, said: “We are very excited and proud to sponsor the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Care Chef of the Year competition in 2021. This competition provides a great opportunity and platform 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.”

Bev Puxley, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Cooks, said: “We’re delighted to continue our sponsorship of the NACC Care Chef of the Year competition. Care catering is a hugely important sector of the foodservice industry and it’s vital that we recognise and celebrate the enormous talent and dedication of care chefs in this way. As longstanding head judge for the competition, I am also pleased that the Hygiene Award has been reintroduced. Hygiene best practice in the kitchen is crucial and has always been a key judging criterion, which the formal recognition now highlights.”

For more information on the NACC Care Chef of the Year 2021 competition and to download an entry form visit