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Peaker Park chef is finalist in prestigious culinary competition

Sam Wicks, our resident chef at Peaker Park Care Village, Market Harborough, is to compete in the National Final of the Care Cook of the Year 2014 culinary competition that crowns the Best Care Cook in the UK. Sam beat off stiff competition in the Midlands regional heat of the prestigious competition, impressing the judges and earning his deserved place in the National Final. On Wednesday 11 June Sam will compete in a live and thrilling cook-off, against 11 other talented care cooks from across the country, for the coveted title of Care Cook of the Year 2014. Organised by the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), the competition is one of the longest-standing, independent recipe competitions in the UK.  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. To secure his place in the Nation Final, Sam was 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. His creative and mouth-watering menu of blushed salmon with spinach, followed by rice pudding with apple topping, impressed the judges, as did his culinary skills and knowledge, which he showcased to the judges at the regional cook-off.  In just 90 minutes he produced a first-class menu that demonstrated innovation, costing ability, suitability for the environment, adherence to nutrition guidelines, great taste, and overall menu balance. Neel Radia, National Chair, NACC, comments:  “Catering within the care sector requires very specific knowledge and skills.  There are a number of factors that care caterers need to fully understand and consider when planning menus for the elderly and vulnerable entrusted to their care.  These include, for example, nutrition, budget, specific dietary needs and individual demands, variety and creativity, presentation, and of course great taste.  It is vital that care cooks get it right in order to ensure the wellbeing of service users. “The NACC Care Cook of the Year Competition tests all of these essential skills and gives chefs and cooks in the sector the opportunity to showcase their talents, demonstrate best practice, and push themselves and their abilities as far as possible.  The talent within our sector is outstanding and Sam is a prime example of this.  I congratulate him on his great success so far in the competition and wish him the very best of luck in the National Final.  It is sure to be an exhilarating cook off! As well as the esteemed title of NACC Care Cook of the Year 2014, the overall winner will claim a superb prize package and trophy.
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