An in-house catering expert has been shortlisted for a prestigious national catering award for his exceptional leadership qualities in delivering high quality food and dining for residents in all of Care UK’s homes.
James Clear, hotel services manager, has been shortlisted in the Catering Manager of the Year category of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Awards 2020.
With over 20 years’ of experience in catering, James has found that working in the care catering sector is the most rewarding of all. He directly supports 37 care homes in the southern region and is the culinary lead for 123 Care UK homes across the country. His message to all Care UK catering teams is clear – residents are at the heart of what we do and it’s fundamental that each resident dines with dignity.
The proof is in the pudding when it comes to this as chefs at two Care UK homes, Iain Young at Murrayside in Edinburgh and Stuart Passey at Pear Tree Court in Hampshire, have also been shortlisted in the Care Establishment category of the awards for their commitment to recognising dietary needs of each resident and ensuring there is always plenty of choice on offer.
James said: “I am delighted that all three of us have reached the finals. Our commitment ensures that residents have dignity, choice and great food that not only looks and tastes as one would expect from fine dining, but that also has the nutritional content to support individual dietary needs. We strive to make a positive impact on residents’ health and wellbeing through nutrition and hydration - whether it’s fortifying meals or ensuring that foods made of a texture that’s easier to swallow appear similar to other diners’ meals while being safe, well-presented and appetising.”
James has worked in collaboration with a Care UK regional roving chef, Andrew Mussett, to develop three recipe books to inspire chefs. It includes topics such as snacking and texture-modified foods, with recipes marked with diet and allergy suitability. These resources are all about giving residents dignity and treating people with parity. And, because of Care UK’s commitment to serving wider communities, free resources are also available online for anyone caring for a loved one who is looking for food inspiration.
In continuing to drive Care UK’s ‘dining with dignity’ approach to deliver high quality dining for residents and relatives, James has spearheaded the implementation of the role of a ‘Dining Room Owner’- a dedicated home team member who is passionate about making sure each resident fully enjoys each meal they have.
Jon Bicknell, Care UK’s food and services director, said: “We are all very proud of James for making it to the final. His passion and inspiration knows no limits and he works tirelessly to ensure residents receive only the very best food.
"Care UK has invested heavily in equipment and training and I’m particularly proud of the work James has done in ensuring our chefs and everyone in the home teams are motivated and understanding of each resident’s dietary needs. Along with suppliers, he has implemented a series of masterclasses for all Care UK chefs to meet one another and share in-depth thinking and tips whilst enhancing their skills and maximising creativity. One of these includes a ‘food is medicine’ course to help our chefs understand the nutritional make up of foods and make more informed choices about ingredients and menu design. James has also arranged practical training sessions in butchery, taste layering, seafood, modified diets and chocolate work.
Winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on 8th October 2020.