Redwalls Nursing Home chef celebrates fourth national cake contest victory
The head chef at Redwalls Nursing Home, who has cooked for two US presidents, is celebrating her fourth success in a national cake competition.
Sharon Johnson’s vanilla butter icing sponge cake, depicting an exhausted Santa and Rudolph after their Christmas exertions, took first prize in a Christmas cake contest open to all Kingsley Healthcare run services around the UK.
Joint runners-up were The Depperhaugh Nursing Home in Suffolk and Park View Nursing Home, in Liverpool; the contest was decided on the number of likes on Kingsley Healthcare’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Ms Johnson, who entertained both Barack Obama and Joe Biden during her time as manager of Maggiano’s restaurant in Washington DC, has previously twice won Kingsley’s Christmas cake competition and also been voted the winner of Kingsley’s Easter cake competition.
She said: “Everyone at the home gets involved in the competitions. I come up with a few ideas and consult residents on which ones I should go with.”
Residents at the home in Weaverham Road, Sandiway, helped with the cake mixing, while support worker Mike Reilly used his artistic talent to take a lead role in decoration.
Ms Johnson, who returned from the US to her native North-West and has been at Redwalls for six years, said: “It is completely different working in a care home to a top restaurant but I treat our residents as guests in just the same way.
“I carry out regular surveys to make sure our menu choices are what the residents want and it’s fantastic to see them enjoying their food.”
She said Mr Biden had visited her restaurant in Washington in the autumn of 2016.
“He came in and sat in the main dining room with his family. I had to move him to a private area because he was being harassed by the general public,” she said.
“He was very appreciative of the service and said the food was ‘awesome’.”
President Obama had visited the restaurant with his daughter in June of the same year to celebrate her graduation from middle school.
As well as hosting visits from famous politicians, she also served food to celebrities including former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.
Author: Stephen Pullinger