Inspirational care staff recognised at lavish awards ceremony in Houses of Parliament
Inspirational and dedicated workers in the care sector have been rewarded this week at a lavish celebration in the Houses of Parliament.
Thursday saw the fourth annual Vegetarian for Life Awards for Excellence in Care Catering – and the nominees and winners certainly didn’t disappoint with accounts of incredible service for their residents.
The four categories: Veggie Care Chef, Veggie Wholesaler, The Beulah Charity Trust Special Recognition Award and Most Innovative Veggie Dish had stiff competition but only one winner could be chosen for each category.
Champa Mistry, of Birchwood Grange care home in Wembley, took the title of Care Chef of the Year for her recipes that have been passed down through generations to create beautiful and colourful dishes such as Champa’s favourite, khadi.
Speaking at the awards, she said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to have won. I am so proud of the whole team I work with but it has been a team effort. They have always supported and encouraged me so I couldn’t be happier. I will continue to create vegetarian dishes and even after 24 years working at the care home I am still inspired to create more dishes for residents.”
Brakes were crowned Veggie Wholesaler of the Year for their extensive range of vegan products including salted caramel cake, burgers, mayonnaise, and ice creams available to care homes across the country.
Cathy Amos, head of marketing collected the award on behalf of the company.
She said: “It’s really exciting to have won the award. Our head office buying teams have vegetarian and vegan very high on their list when looking at new product development but we want to make sure that the products are great, and we have been really impressed with the vegan foods. We will be continuing to look at more vegan products and hopefully have even more products in the future.”
The Beulah Charity Trust Special Recognition Award went to Manav Seva Community Services, for the incredible vegetarian ‘meals on wheels’ service they offer to those who may not be able to leave their homes.
Kalpana Joshi, one of the main founders of the Leicester-based company was thrilled to have won – but said there are still bigger plans for the future.
She said: “I am really excited that we have won the award. We started in 2014 so this is such a great way to mark our five year anniversary. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have been recognised for the work we do. But we want to do even more in the future. We want to expand and hopefully one day if we get the funding, we would like to be able to offer free meals for those struggling financially. We love what we do and want to do bigger and better things in the future.”
Head chef Phillip Meyer, of Pemberley House care home in Basingstoke, won the title of Most Innovative Veggie Dish for his vegan creation of a baked lemon tart with chocolate swirls – showing there are so many flavours and textures that can be created using plant-based ingredients.
Speaking at the awards, he said: “It’s great to have won and especially at an event here at the Houses of Parliament. I love architecture so to have won here is extra special. I really do love and enjoy what I do so it’s great to be acknowledged for my passion.”
Amanda Woodvine, chief executive at Vegetarian for Life, said: “It was tough trying to choose just one winner for each category because we were so impressed with the dedication and care that all nominees give to their vegetarian and vegan residents. Care homes such as these seem to be going the extra mile when serving plant-based meals.
“Each and every awards finalist proved why they were at the awards today. Vegetarian for Life congratulates everyone for their efforts and dedication to providing better vegan and vegetarian foods for the people in their care.”
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