Chef Rob Kemp from Patching Lodge in Brighton has been named ‘Hanover Chef of the Year’ in the annual Caterplus competition. This year's event was held at Unilever Food Services, Leatherhead on 13 November and overseen by Hanover’s major catering partner Caterplus. Rob battled against fellow shortlisted Hanover chefs from across the country in the two course cook off.
Under competition conditions in the Unilever kitchens, the chefs had just 90 minutes to produce two portions each of a main course and dessert, costing no more than £5 in total. The dishes also had to include at least three Unilever products to a set theme of ‘Best of British Produce for a Royal Year’.
Rob impressed the judges with his Indian style shepherd’s pie, which he served up with a warm onion salad and a garlic and coriander naan bread. His dessert of a raspberry and lemon cheesecake, served with raspberry coulis, proved equally delicious. Rob’s winning meal will now become one of Hanover’s signature dishes for residents to enjoy in 2019.
The full list of finalists, all from Hanover Extra Care Housing estates, were:
I am absolutely delighted! I’ve never won anything like this before, so it has given me a real sense of achievement and recognition for years of dedication to food.
Tom Brown, Regional Director for Hanover, said: ‘Each year our on-site catering teams serve over one million healthy meals to residents, so it’s no surprise that the standards of all the finalists were incredibly high. I’ve been impressed by the skill and imagination that has shone through in this year’s competition – it has been a great chance for the chefs to showcase their ability, their careful approach to preparing tasty meals and their personal philosophy about food.
‘Rob’s use of very subtle spices demonstrated that food for older people doesn’t need to be bland. The taste, texture and smells from his dishes were wonderful and the size of his portions was perfect. I am sure that once these gastronomic delights become part of Hanover’s signature menu they will become favourites among all our residents.’
Rob said: ‘Today was particularly special, as the winning dish is something my mum used to cook for me when I was a boy.
‘I have to admit that at times I was very nervous, especially when you’re up against it and the clock is ticking. It is much easier to prepare fifty meals in the Patching Lodge kitchen than just the two in a competition finale like this!'