Care home chef turns up the heat

The contestants outside the Shires Cookery School with Avery Healthcare's managing director John Strowbridge with Paul Burch second from left

The contestants outside the Shires Cookery School with Avery Healthcare's managing director John Strowbridge with Paul Burch second from left

0
Have your say

Forget well-known television cookery competitions, residents of one care home in Kettering can claim to have their own master chef.

BBC Masterchef judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace would be licking their lips over the food dished up by Elm Bank Care Home chef Paul Burch after he won a regional cook-off.

The 24-year-old took time off from serving residents to beat four other chefs from home operator Avery Healthcare’s other sites in the East Midlands heat in Northampton.

The event was run by Michelin Star chef Andy Gray.

Mr Burch had previously worked at Rushton Hall and Oundle Mill before joining the new home last summer.

The father-of-two said: “The first round of the competition was fantastic and to be coached by Andy Gray was inspiring.

“Although winning was and is important to me, I gained a tremendous amount from the day and it was great to meet chefs from our homes across the country and to share ideas – a bit of healthy competition is always a good thing in my view.”

Mr Burch will now take his place in the national cook-off in a bid to win Avery Healthcare’s Chef of the Year award.

The winner will get a weekend for two at Stapleford Park Country House Hotel near Melton Mowbray.

He said: “I am thrilled to have won the first round and am looking forward to competing in the finals.

“Mealtimes are an important time for residents both socially and nutritionally and I aim to create first class food.

“It is a challenge as I need to cater for a range of palates and many residents have specific individual needs but this means I am motivated to develop my skills further.”

Hayley Strowbridge, commissioning and hotel services manager at Avery Healthcare, said: “Our chefs are selected for being extremely talented individuals with a true passion for food. We have a rigorous recruitment policy, all employees go through an intensive interview process and we make investment in a continuous staff training programme to ensure we remain at the top of our game.”