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Care UK chefs battle it out in national competition

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Four care home chefs are in the running to be crowned our chef of the year.

The competition is held annually and recognises the best culinary talent in more than 100 Care UK homes across the country. 

Nikolina Dimitrova from Priors House in Leamington Spa, Michael Dwyer from Ponteland Manor in Newcastle upon Tyne, Anna Chwalek from Wellmeadow Lodge in Glasgow, and Alan Cash from Mildenhall Lodge in Suffolk were the finalists in this year's competition. 

Nikolina, known to residents and the team as Nina, has been recognised for the award for her personalised approach to the food she prepares, tailoring dishes to residents’ personal tastes, as well as dietary requirements. Nina moved to the UK eight years ago and has been working in the culinary sector ever since, joining Priors House in 2014. 

Michael took up professional cookery in 2015 when he retired as a police officer. Since then he has endeavoured to develop his skills undertaking NVQ level 2 training at his local college and is now working towards his NVQ level 3 qualification. Michael joined Ponteland Manor earlier this year and is keen to continue his professional development with more training. 

Anna has a MA degree in Clinical Psychology from her native Poland but came to England to follow her real passion of cooking. Anna joined Wellmeadow Lodge in 2008 and particularly enjoys sharing her skills with the residents. She's always creating new dishes for residents to keep dining exciting.

Alan has over 20 years’ culinary experience and worked as a civilian chef for the MOD for 12 years. Over his career he has won several awards, he came third in the National Association of Care Catering and has even cooked for Prince William. He is passionate about catering and joined Mildenhall Lodge in 2014. 

Katy Hughes, home manager at Mildenhall Lodge, said: “The Chef of the Year competition is a brilliant opportunity for the chefs at Care UK to show their talent and expertise.

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