South Shields chef set to put skills to test in national competition

A South Shields care home chef hopes he will enjoy the sweet taste of success when he takes part in a national competition.

By Sophie Brownson
Friday, 19 July, 2019, 11:45

Alan Bulmer, who works at Palmersdene Care Home on Grange Road West, Jarrow, is getting set to cook up a storm in the final of the Anchor’s Chef of the Year competition.

A former military chef, Alan joined the care home five months ago and has already impressed residents with his delicious dishes.

Palmersdene Anchor Care Home chef Alan Bulmer with two of his dishes.

The 62-year-old decided to enter the competition – which is run by the care home operator Anchor - where chefs based at homes across the country were asked to submit a menu comprising of a main dish and a dessert.

Alan’s entry saw him design a dish inspired by the care home’s name Palmersdene – creating a main of “Palmers Chicken2 and “Dene Potatoes”, while his desert was called “Residents Pudding”.

He worked on the dishes with residents, asking them to submit feedback before capturing photos of the dish and then submitting them along with the menu to judges. His entry was chosen as one of eight finalists who will now go head-to-head in a cook-off final held at University College Birmingham on September 5.

Alan said: “The main dish is chicken stuffed with ham, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs, which is then wrapped in bacon and served with potatoes and mango chutney sauce.

A dish created by Palmersdene Anchor Care Home Chef Alan Bulmer.

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“The pudding is a compote made of fresh fruit soaked in sherry and has a shortbread pastry case, date and nut sponge and salted caramel custard.

“The residents absolutely loved it and they keep asking when it will go again as we have a four-week menu cycle.

“Should I win, the recipe will be shared across the other care homes in the group.”

Now Alan is getting set for the cook-off final which will see him have two hours to prepare the main and desert, along with one diet option for people with problems with swallowing, and an option for people who need to put on weight.

A dish created by Palmersdene Anchor Care Home Chef Alan Bulmer.

The dishes will then be judged by a Michelin starred chef who will announce the winner.

Palmersdene Anchor Care Home Chef Alan Bulmer making one of his dishes.
A dish created by Palmersdene Anchor Care Home Chef Alan Bulmer. Picture by Frank Reid