NACC launches Care Chef of the Year 2022 competition

The National Association of Care Catering has announced its Care Chef of the Year 2022 competition and has opened entries.

The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) has launched its Care Chef of the Year 2022 competition.

The prestigious contest has shone a spotlight on culinary talent across the care sector for 22 years. It is open to all chefs and cooks working in care settings (including homes, day centres, lunch clubs, hospices, local authorities and meals on wheels services) and recognises, showcases and celebrates sector-specific knowledge, skills and flair.

The entry brochure can be downloaded here and the deadline for entries is 25 April 2022.

Focusing on the importance of food, nutrition and positive mealtime experiences as part of quality care, entrants are challenged to create an appealing and delicious two-course menu (main and dessert) appropriate for people in a care setting. 

The combined food cost for both courses should be no more than £3 per head based on three portions and it must be nutritionally-balanced. The menu must also feature at least one product from main sponsor Unilever Food Solutions’ sector-relevant catering range. The list of products can be found on the entry brochure, linked above.

All paper entries will be judged by a central judging panel and the successful chefs that make it through to the next stage will compete at the regional heats in June/July 2022.

There, they will have 90 minutes to produce their dishes and demonstrate their skill set and knowledge under the watchful eyes of the competition judges. The judges will be looking for clear nutritional understanding of the foods they are using and how they benefit the needs of their clientele, plus culinary flair through flavours, menu balance, execution, presentation and hygiene best practice.

The two highest-scoring competitors from each regional heat will compete for the title NACC Care Chef of the Year 2022 at the national finals on 5 October.

Sue Cawthray, national chair of the NACC, says: “The launch of the NACC Care Chef of the Year is always an exciting event. This fantastic competition is a highlight of the NACC calendar and a brilliant platform to showcase the skills, knowledge and excellence of chefs working in our sector, as well as the career opportunities it offers.

“Delicious, nutritious food and positive dining experiences are fundamental to quality care, so you could say that the kitchen is at the heart of a care home. It’s therefore only right that we celebrate and champion the incredible talents of care chefs who, day-in-day-out, ensure the individual and varied needs of those in their care are understood and met with skill, flair and dignity.

“I encourage everyone to enter their amazing chefs and showcase the culinary excellence our wonderful sector delivers. I can’t wait to see how this year’s competition unfolds. Good luck everyone!”

Aaron Watson's main dish

Last year's winner, crowned in October 2021, was Aaron Watson, whose Asian-inspired dishes wowed judges. You can read our interview with Aaron here.

The NACC Care Chef of the Year 2022 competition is supported by main sponsor Unilever Food Solutions and event sponsor The Worshipful Company of Cooks.

Alex Hall, executive chef at Unilever Food Solutions, says: “We are very excited and proud to continue sponsoring the NACC Care Chef of the Year competition in 2022. This competition provides a great opportunity for care chefs around the country to showcase their skills and raise the profile of care catering.

“Our team at Unilever Food Solutions is delighted to be working alongside chefs within the care sector to ensure that every mealtime is the highlight of the residents’ day, be that supporting with activities to nutritionally analysed recipes, training, inspiration and competitions like this. We look forward to seeing how this year’s competitors rise to the challenge and wish them the very best of luck."

Virginia Bond, master of the Worshipful Company of Cooks, says: “Once again, the Worshipful Company of Cooks is proud to sponsor the NACC competition. For more than 500 years we have been involved in the world of cookery; initially being responsible for standards of catering and hygiene in the City of London and more recently closely engaged, through our support for competitions such as this one, in encouraging chefs to achieve high standards that they can then take back into their workplace.

“To all competitors we send our best wishes and we look forward to being able to host the winner at our annual Prize Winners’ Lunch when you will be able to sit back and enjoy the results of someone else’s hard work. Good luck!”

For more information on the NACC Care Chef of the Year 2022 competition and to download the entry form visit

You may also be interested in…