Older peoples’ charity Vegetarian for Life has announced the shortlisted finalists for its 2019 Awards for Excellence in Vegetarian and Vegan Care Catering, which will be presented at an exclusive event at the Houses of Parliament on 17th October.
The finalists are as follows:
Veggie Care Chef of the Year
Kalpana Joshi, Manav Seva Community Services
Through Manav Seva Community Services, Kalpana supports older vegetarians and vegans by creating hot, fresh and tasty meals for both a meals on wheels service and day care centre. Kalpana has been recognised for her leadership in the kitchen as well as her motivation, passion and energy. Kalpana not only offers a wide variety of foods, but also provides specific foods to meet individual members’ dietary requirements. She cooks and prepares foods without added preservatives, food colourings, or allergens.
Philip Meyer, Pemberley House
Phil approaches his job with excitement and loyalty. He and his team have been described as ‘beyond creative’, going above and beyond to create special meals for the residents they love and care for at Pemberley House. Phil believes that you cannot match making meals from scratch using locally sourced fresh ingredients. And his new weekly menus are proving to be a big hit, with 40% of residents opting for one of the daily vegetarian options ¬ proving that you don¹t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy meat-free meals.
Champa Mistry, Birchwood Grange
Head Chef Champa runs one of only a handful of vegetarian care kitchens in the country. She takes great pride in the preparation of Gujrati cuisine, but the kitchen also cooks for residents who are Jain. Champa uses her family knowledge and skills to create imaginative dishes using ancient and timeless recipes, passed down from generation to generation. Champa embraces residents’ ideas to help modify and develop the food. Local produce is used, and spices are bought locally from the market.
Veggie Wholesaler of the Year
Brakes cares passionately about supporting care caterers, and has recently brought to market vegan products including jackfruit and Oumph! Brakes’ care home development chef demonstrates these to care caterers, explaining how they can be used for people with swallowing difficulties, adapted for those with dementia, or who may need hand-held foods. Brakes’ buying teams all have vegetarian and vegan high on their list when looking at new product development; both the marketing manager and care home development chef are part of this process and feed in ideas of suitability for the healthcare market.
Manav Seva Community Services
Manav Seva Community Services supports older people who are fragile and find it difficult to cater for themselves, by providing a door-to-door meals on wheels service. It aims to continue to grow and provide food around Leicester. A wide range of freshly cooked and prepared food choices are offered, meeting specific dietary requirements and supporting certain health conditions. Manav Seva stands out for meeting the religious requirements of its community – for example, certain sections of the community who refrain from eating food items such as garlic and onions.
Thomas Ridley Foodservice
Thomas Ridley Foodservice is a wholesaler that offers advice and guidance to care homes when planning menus and ordering food. It takes pride in offering this skillset to help its customers, and the ability to source new products that can really help a care home overall. Its product selection for vegetarians and vegans includes ingredients through to end products from leading vegetarian brands. Thomas Ridley supplies ambient, chilled and frozen products to create easy, time-saving plant-based menu solutions for busy kitchens.
The Beulah Charity Trust Special Recognition Award
Juan Lopez, Birchwood Grange
Juan oversees the culinary operations for Birchwood, celebrating diversity and culture, with a vast number of vegetarian dishes produced daily. The craft skills that Juan obtained while working with Marco Pierre White are incorporated into beautiful, homely dishes on a daily basis. Juan has created a varied, exciting menu, developing his team to ensure that new initiatives and learning support residents’ nutritional needs. He actively encourages vegetarian choices. Juan is described as having the ability and enthusiasm to learn and develop a 5-star service within a nursing home for complex care. No challenge is seen as an obstacle, but rather as an opportunity to be creative and do better.
Steve Dale, The Moreton Centre
As a catering manager, Steve feels duty bound to provide the healthiest diet to the residents that he is responsible for. Two-thirds of the Moreton Centre’s menu is vegetarian, and some days all four menu options might be vegetarian. Steve uses fresh and, where possible, local fruit and veg. He consults widely with residents about menu choices. Menus are written weekly to take advantage of seasonal produce, and the weather. Steve has always fought to change the perception of care home food, and has never accepted that “they” ¬- meaning residents –¬ won’t like or won’t try new foods.
Manav Seva Community Services
Mana Seva Community Services goes the extra mile in meeting the health and nutritional needs of older members of the community who are not able to cook, including those with specific dietary requirements. Its highly dedicated team of staff and volunteers show a high level of commitment; preparing food on time for service and delivery gives the team a lot of very early starts! Manav Seva aims to expand its current service by providing cookery classes for both carers and members of the community, empowering them with enhanced food preparation skills.