Aberdonian chef shortlisted for NACC Care Chef of the Year

After training in his home country of Bulgaria, Maks Parvulov worked in various hospitality and food service settings in Italy, France and the USA before joining Renaissance Care

An Aberdonian chef, Maks Parvulov, has been cooking up a storm in the kitchen and has been shortlisted for a national catering award.

Parvulov, who is based in Aberdeen for his role as peripatetic chef for Renaissance Care’s homes across the north of Scotland, has been shortlisted in the regional finals of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Care Chef of the Year for his approach to nutritionally balanced meals which are innovative and, most importantly, pass the taste test for care home residents.

The competition required Parvulov to create a two-course menu which focused on nutritionally dense meals that benefit the physical wellbeing of elderly people living in care homes, with the added challenge that the total sum for both courses could not exceed £4.50.

Parvulov delivered on the brief with a salmon wellington, inspired by his culinary travels and the Russian dish of ‘salmon coulibiac’, accompanied by mushroom rice, parmentier potatoes, vichy carrots and a white wine sauce. For dessert, he served profiteroles with coffee mousse, raspberry gel, and caramelised banana.

The 31-year-old chef began his culinary career at HRC Culinary Academy in his home country of Bulgaria before he travelled around the world, working in various hospitality and food service settings in Italy, France, and the United States of America, alongside some of the best chefs in the world.

In 2020, he embarked on his career in care catering as head chef at Cowdray Club Care Home in Aberdeen. A role he held until 2024 when he was promoted to peripatetic chef for the north of Scotland for Renaissance Care.

Commenting on his shortlisting Parvulov says: “I’m delighted to have reached the regional finals, especially as I’m still relatively new to care home catering. I'm over the moon to have come this far and I’m keeping my fingers crossed now for the regional finals in Glasgow later this month, and then – hopefully – the finals later this year.

“I’ve always loved cooking. It’s been a passion of mine since I was young, and I didn’t consider anything else as a career. Having cooked in restaurants and hospitality venues around the world, when I moved to Scotland in 2020, I was looking for a new challenge.

“I loved my four years at Cowdray Club Care Home, as I had the opportunity to create varied and balanced menus for the residents, using my skills and knowledge from the hospitality industry to add some excitement to their dining experiences.

“Now, in my role as peripatetic chef for the northern region, I support the catering departments in eight different homes to deliver high-quality catering and dining service through advanced training and a range of development sessions.

“Before working for Renaissance Care, I – like many people – thought care home catering would be quite limited and there wouldn’t be much scope for creativity or trying new things. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I now have the opportunity to use my creativity every day and inspire the catering teams across the north to experiment with new flavours and cuisines, much to our residents’ delight. Receiving positive feedback from the residents on new dishes or menus we create is undoubtedly my favourite thing about the job.”

The NACC Care Chef competition is the longest standing care chef competition in the UK. It continually challenges people who operate within the care sector to devise innovative and exciting recipes whilst adhering to a strict budget and meeting the nutritional needs of their clientele. 

Stuart Middleton, Catering and Dining Operations Manager, Renaissance Care says: “We’re so proud of Maks as not only does this provide him with validation that he is a fantastic care catering chef, but it also brings Renaissance Care’s commitment to nutrition and catering into the spotlight for families, residents and the wider sector.

“Creating and providing seasonal, nutritionally balanced meals is key to resident wellbeing and is an area of expertise that we at Renaissance Care have committed significant investment to. We wish Maks the best of luck for the regional heats later in June.”

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