Tall Trees chef Dan Moss has won the title Chef of the Year in a nationwide contest to find the best care home chef who can consistently provide exceptional, tempting and nutritious food.
Dan, who is chef at Care UK’s Tall Trees care home in Colchester, said he was amazed when the presenter called his name at the awards ceremony on Thursday 20 November: “It was a really tough competition. I had to win through several rounds before representing the East of England in the Masterchef-style finals.”
Dan wowed the judges with a menu of:
- Chicken and leek stack accompanied by garlic and chive mash with deep fried leeks and bundles of julienne carrots, courgette and asparagus tied with chive.
- Trio of puddings:
- Chocolate and raspberry crumble
- Lemon drizzle cake
- Mixed berry and almond fool
Dan added: “When I got to the finals, the other competitors were all very experienced and talented. I just got my head down and cooked my menu. I was shocked and delighted when my name was called at the ceremony.”
Katherine Foley, home manager at Tall Trees, said: “Dan is an excellent chef. Whenever a new resident joins, I email him with any dietary requirements and he ensures everyone has delicious food that suits their nutritional and medical needs.
“Everything is home-cooked and Dan keeps a list of birthdays in the kitchen, so a resident’s birthday never passes without a cake. He also supports our charity fundraising events by baking cakes for coffee mornings.
“Our residents have a great sense of fun and we have lots of events in the home. Dan works closely with our activities co-ordinators so that, if we are having a themed day, he creates a menu to match. Dan really is a chef in a million.”
The competition was open to all chefs and cooks in Care UK’s 114 care homes nationwide. Head judge Paul Wright, Unilever’s head chef, said: “It was an exceptional final this year with everyone cooking to a very high standard. However, Dan stood out because of his attention to detail, his well-planned preparation and the faultless execution of his dishes. He showed great technical skills, as well as delivering great flavoured dishes. His residents are fortunate to have him as their chef.”