Gracewell of Ascot Chefs Shortlisted for Prestigious NACC Dining Awards

Gracewell  |  September 24, 2020

Two of Gracewell of Ascot’s chefs have been shortlisted at this year’s prestigious National Association of Care Catering (NACC) awards. Mike Bucu, Sous Chef, has been shortlisted for the Triumph in Adversity Award while Matt Dodds, Head Chef, has successfully made it through to the UK final for the Care Chef 2020 award.

Mike was successfully shortlisted for the award after overcoming immense personal challenges and continuing to be a “rock” within the Gracewell of Ascot kitchen. Mike, who joined the care home in September 2018, tragically lost his dearly loved wife to Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic. His wife was also a colleague at the home as a care team member and trainee nurse and her loss was a huge set back to the Gracewell of Ascot community.

Despite the immeasurable strain this placed on Mike and his three daughters, he demonstrated his heroic commitment to the care home by returning to the kitchen and working through the distress to continue delivering industry-leading levels of service at the care home. Mike said that working at Gracewell of Ascot is a “privilege”, adding that “the team are incredibly supportive and there is a real sense of comradery not just in the kitchen, but across the whole care home.”

Speaking of Mike’s nomination, Matt said:

“Through all the grief he continued to work with his head up to keep the team going and produce fantastic food for the residents. I was unfortunate to suffer with mental health issues during this time and Mike still took the time to call and support me through my hardships.”

Alongside Mike’s success at this year’s NACC awards, Matt has reached the final for the Care Chef 2020 award. Matt’s progression into the final round was secured after he prepared the nostalgic dish of poached rabbit saddle, roast shallots, baby carrots, crispy kale and fondant potato with a tarragon cream sauce. The final was due to be held this autumn but has now been postponed to 2021 due to Covid-19.

Matt, who joined Gracewell of Ascot in March 2019, has had an esteemed culinary career. He was appointed as Head Chef at a restaurant when he was just 19 years old and went on to work at a variety of Michelin starred restaurants and even cooked for a member of the Royal Family while at Sunningdale Golf Club. As a pastry chef by profession, he has sought to introduce home baking at Gracewell of Ascot as well as homemade sweets for residents.

Under his leadership, Gracewell of Ascot has developed industry leading dining services for its residents, with many dishes made from scratch using fresh ingredients. Residents are then served three courses at every meal from the home’s corporate menu, which is complemented by a restaurant standard of service. Residents are also able to order from an alternative menu as they please.

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