Winners of vegan and vegetarian care catering awards revealed

Vegetarian for Life has announced the winners of its 2021 Awards for Excellence in Vegetarian and Vegan Care Catering.

The winners of a ceremony celebrating care chefs and teams which go the extra mile for vegan and vegetarian residents have been announced.

Vegetarian for Life's 2021 Awards for Excellence in Vegetarian and Vegan Care Catering were held on Wednesday afternoon in a virtual ceremony which was streamed live.

It was opened by Dr Barbara Sharp, chair of the charity, who said: "Good food plays an essential part in all of our lives but takes on a special significance for older vegans and vegetarians receiving care. Central to health, of course, but the food we want to eat also relates to our sense of identity, it reflects what's important to us, our philosophical and religious beliefs and our life choices.

"And at a time of life when many other activities can be difficult or lost to us, good food provides enormous pleasure, connecting us with the familiar, the comforting, with our memories and the company of others."

The event was presented by comedian Matt Adlington and included cooking demonstrations.

The winner of Veggie Care Chef of the Year was announced as Champa Mistry, of Avery Healthcare's Birchwood Grange Care Home in Harrow, while the Most Innovative Veggie Dish was won by Tom Waters, of Barchester Healthcare's Ashfields Care Home, near Norwich, with his chickpea 'tuna'.

The Veggie Wholesaler of the Year award was won by Anglia Crown, and the Beulah Charity Trust Special Recognition Award was given to the Birchwood Grange culinary team.

Mary Wedge, business development manager at Anglia Crown, said: "We are really pleased to receive this recognition. After becoming the first manufacturer in healthcare to register dishes with the Vegan Society in 2017, we now offer more than 70 vegan and vegetarian dishes. Our vision is to drive excellence in health and social care catering, and we do this through continuous product development, innovation and paying attention to our customers’ needs.”

She added: "Throughout the pandemic, our team focused on maintaining our production and delivery to our customers who were working on the front line, protecting their residents and patients from the effects of Covid-19. We used the time to innovate and in April 2021, launched 17 new and improved dishes to ensure our customers’ needs were met. I am very proud of the entire team that worked tirelessly to ensure the business operated consistently throughout the Covid period."

Finalists were announced on the day by television and radio presenter Jasmine Harman, actress Leyla Harding, actor Paul Higgins and actor, comedian and writer Dave Spikey.