Agincare chefs sharpen their knives for regional cook-offs

Published: Wednesday 23rd June 2021

Two of our chefs are celebrating after making it through to the regional finals of the National Care Chef of the Year competition.

Jerome N’Gapele Coulibaly from Gainsborough, our care home in Swanage, and Salman Shabdar from Chalgrove, our care and nursing Home in Poole, will travel to Exeter College on 7 July for the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) southwest cook-off.

Jerome and Salman will have 90 minutes to each serve up dishes for judges, whom will look for nutritional understanding, culinary flair, flavour, menu balance and  presentation.

To reach the NACC regional final, entrants were challenged to submit a two-course nutritionally balanced and appropriate menu for people in a care setting.

Two winners from each of the six regional finals will secure a place in the UK grand final on 6 October in Stratford-upon-Avon College.

Gainsborough chef Jerome N’Gapele Coulibaly is a classically trained French chef with experience of working in kitchens across his native country, including in Paris, Toulouse and Dordogne.

Jerome also ran his own business catering for private clients and parties before moving to the UK with wife Christina, who hails from the area and also works at Gainsborough Care Home.

Before deploying his skills at Gainsborough, Jerome worked at top establishments in the southwest including Endsleigh Hotel in Devon and Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall – which recently hosted the G7 summit.

For the regional final cook-off Jerome will be presenting fillet of cod with julienne of carrot, leek and courgette, accompanied by butter and creamed potato and a fish stock reduction, finished with a waffle.

It will be followed by a duo of mango and passion-fruit gateau with a fresh strawberry coulis.

Jerome said:

I’ve never entered any competition before, there’s bound to be some good chefs at the cook-off but I will go there and do my very best.

Visual presentation, impact of colour and flavour is just as important for care homes as it is for fine dining, so I try and source local products wherever possible and cook from scratch every day.

The NACC care chef competition is the longest standing care chef competition in the UK. It is open to those working in care homes but also extends to local authorities and other care organisations, including hospices.

Salman Shabdar graduated with a professional catering qualification from Bournemouth and Poole College, and worked in kitchens across the area before joining Chalgrove Care and Nursing Home in 2003.

For the cook-off Salman will serve up Chicken Roulade with spinach and ricotta cheese, accompanied by home made croquet potatoes and mixed green vegetables with a supreme sauce.

This will be followed by date pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Salman said:

The secret to good cooking is using and getting the best out of quality ingredients, particularly when nutrition is so important for older people.

I like talking to the residents and finding out what they want to eat; it’s great to see them happy, smiling and enjoying the food that I cook.

I hope my passion for care home cooking will take me through the regional cook-off to the national final.

The 2021 competition is sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions, and the Worshipful Company of Cooks – one of the oldest Livery Companies in the City of London – which dates back to the 12th century.

Agincare Homes Chief Operating Officer Tim Buckley said:

I’m delighted that Agincare chefs have made it through to the regional cook-offs.

The care chef of the year is a prestigious and fiercely contested competition, and I wish both Salman and Jerome the very best of luck with their dishes.

Agincare is one of the largest independent care providers in England, employing more than 3,500 people delivering high quality care in more than 50 locations, with its head office based in Portland, Dorset.