A Peterborough master chef has picked up a top award for bringing fine dining to a care home.
Rob Devonshire (47) has transformed menus at the Clayburn Court Care Home in Hampton since starting three years ago.
Now Rob has won the Anchor (who run the care home) Chef of the Year award, beating cooks from across the country to pick up the prize.
To win the award, Rob cooked a meal of rack of lamb with gratin potatoes, and a Mille-Feuille - a puff pastry layered passion fruit mousse, with vanilla roasted figs. The trophy now has pride of place in the care home.
Rob said: “While it is a bit fancier than what we cook every day, the meal had to be suitable for a care home. We had to produce one plate which was pureed, for residents who cannot chew.
“There were eight other finalists, and we were judged by Tom Shepherd, who has a Michelin Star. He said he was very impressed by the standard there.
“Hearing someone like Tom say that was very inspiring - this is all about raising the standards in the care industry.”
Residents Heather Nye and Doreen Bradway were not surprised Rob had won the competition. Doreen - who said Rob’s braised belly of pork was her favourite dish - said: “He is our own MasterChef - we would love to see him on the show.”
Heather added: “The chef cooks everything very well.”
To make sure his finals meal was perfect, he practised at home, serving the dish to his wife.
But the hard work was worth it, as Tom said: “This has really opened my eyes into what care homes provide for their residents, but how difficult this was for me to pick a winner.
“As far as I am concerned – they were all winners but I have to say Rob’s rack of lamb was cooked to perfection, and his beautiful French pudding, Mille-Feuille complemented it perfectly.”
Rob was starting preparation for dinner at the care home when The Peterborough Telegraph spoke to him. On the menu was braised beefsteaks with peppercorn sauce, and apple tarte tatin, along with fresh soup and homemade bread.
He said: “All the residents were very happy we won the award - they were very impressed. They threw a little party for us. We get them involved in writing the menus, so they get traditional things they remember.
“We are trying to raise the standards. When we do a Sunday dinner for someone who has problems chewing, for example, rather than put it all in the blender together and puree it, we puree each section individually - so they get the beef separately to the potatoes and vegetables. It makes it a nicer way to eat the meal, which in turn helps the residents get a better balanced diet.”