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Spring Lodge care home chef serves up more award success

Andrew Gray Chef

It really was no surprise to staff and residents at Spring Lodge Care Home, in Woolverstone, when their chef, Andy Gray, was announced as Chef of the Year at Kingsley Healthcare’s 25th Anniversary Regional Care Awards.

For Mr Gray has been serving up delicious food in the home for 20 years and said it still gave him “an immense amount of pride to see residents enjoying their meals”.

In an event hosted at the Ivy House Country Hotel, in Oulton Broad, Lowestoft by ITV Anglia news anchors David Whiteley and Becky Jago, he was announced as the winner for Kingsley’s Suffolk homes, pipping runners-up Patricia Stephen, of The Depperhaugh nursing home, in Eye, and Andrea Long, of Hadleigh Nursing Home.

Spring Lodge colleagues who nominated him said “he is a fantastic chef but, on top of that, a lovely guy with a very big heart who will always answer a resident’s request to make them something different”.

Mr Gray, who also won Chef of the Year at Kingsley’s national care awards in 2017, said: “I believe everyone deserves a nutritional, tasty plate of food that looks well presented.

“The challenge for a chef in a care home is that residents are dining in the restaurant 365 days a year so they are the hardest clientele to please.”

Colleagues say he consistently presents a varied and exciting menu and he always goes the extra mile, producing fabulous cakes for birthdays and special occasions such as the 2018 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

He has also developed great skill at preparing tempting meals for people living with dementia who may have difficulty swallowing. After freshly preparing the food, the ingredients are blended down using a mixer and then re-formed using special moulds.

Mr Gray said the moulds had made a huge difference to residents’ enjoyment of food.

He said: “Previously we used ring moulds for pureed food, but that could look boring and unappetising.

“Thanks to my new moulds, people can eat pureed food that looks exactly the same as the meal being eaten by the person next to them. It maintains their dignity and respect.

“If they don’t like the look of the food then the residents may not touch it, so that is why it is so important.”

Kingsley, which last month won Residential Elderly Care Provider of the Year (Large Group) at the prestigious Health Investor Awards, is also staging regional care awards in the South and in the North West and Midlands ahead of national 25th anniversary awards to be held in Suffolk in September.

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  • Enabling Research in Care Homes
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