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Cardiff care home chef wins national award

Cheryl Crook, chef at Heol Don Bupa Care Home

A chef at a Cardiff-based care home has been recognised as one of the UK’s top care chefs at the National Association of Care Catering Chef of the Year awards.

On Wednesday 20th January, Cheryl Crook, chef at Heol Don Bupa Care Home, came in third place at the national awards after the Home Manager, Kate Stephens put her forward. The competition kicked off with a regional ‘cook off’ back in February 2020 which saw Cheryl move through to the UK wide finals. Due to the pandemic, the final round took place virtually and the contestants had to do a Zoom cooking demonstration.

Each chef was to produce a two-course menu suitable for the care sector on a budget of £2.25 or less. For main course, Cheryl made sun-blushed tomato Arancini filled with mozzarella, with a side of green lentil and fennel ragout, and thyme buttered squash. For dessert, Cheryl did her own take on a traditional apple crumble, with a salted caramel twist and a hazelnut and shortbread crumble, served with vanilla custard.

Commenting on making it to third place, Cheryl Crook, said: “I am absolutely thrilled and elated to have made it to the finals and to come in third place. I’m passionate about cooking and love nothing more than seeing residents with empty plates and smiles on their faces, so to be recognised in this way means the world.”

Cheryl has been the in-house chef at Bupa’s Heol Don care home for the past three years, following a career as a nursery chef where she catered for up to 100 children a day, some with complex and varying dietary needs.

Rae Tinsley, resident at Heol Don Bupa Care Home, comments: “I always look forward to meal times, Cheryl’s food is always delicious.”

Home Manager, Kate Stephens, added: “All of us here at Heol Don are incredibly proud of Cheryl, this is such a fantastic achievement and the competition standards were exceptionally high. Cheryl is always creating exciting and nutritious meals for residents, helping them lead healthier lives and always receives glowing feedback.”