This year we crowned our first ever winner of the Bisto Care Caterer of the Year, in association with Country Range competition. After a gruelling live cook-off between five finalists, Juliana Martins Pinto, Caterer at Cuffley Manor Care Home in Potters Bar was crowned winner. Juliana cooked her way to victory with her main dish of Bisto Chicken Ballotine stuffed with Spinach and Mushroom, served with Hasselback Potatoes, Asparagus Spears, Carrots and Bisto Chicken Gravy Granules. Juliana’s dessert dish of Poached Pears served with Country Range Custard and Toasted Flaked Almonds was the perfect final sweet touch to seal her victory and win the judges over. We sat down and spoke to her following her victory to find out more about her and her win.
How long have you been working at Carlton Court Care Home?
I have been working at Carlton Court Care Home, TLC Care, for just over a year, starting in October 2017.
Brief outline of your career to date, including how you came to be in care catering?
I started my professional career in the hospitality industry because my family owned a restaurant in Brazil. I moved to the UK four years ago and worked in Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin star restaurant in London which was a brilliant experience. My passion for supporting the care home industry eventually lead me to my role at Carlton Court Care Home.
How many residents are you currently catering for, and what are their care needs (e.g. residential, dementia, nursing, end of life etc?)
We have 64 residents in our care home, all with very different needs. The home is divided into three floors: residential, nursing and dementia.
What was the inspiration for your winning menu?
I took the inspiration from the residents I cater for everyday at Carlton Court Care Home, which helped deliver a winning menu. I discussed the ideas with them and got their input which I found really useful and it got my creative juices flowing.
How often do you use Bisto Gravy products?
I’m currently using Bisto Gravy for a variety of different dishes within our seasonal menu including pies, purées and sauces. At Carlton Court Care Home, Bisto is included regularly on our menus.
Do you make it known to residents/relatives that you’re using branded products? If yes, do you think brands are important to a care home clientele?
I am constantly receiving feedback from the residents and their relatives to help improve our menu. I have held food tastings, discussing with them the products I have used in the dishes, and they were very impressed with the quality. We advertise that we use Bisto on our menu as it’s a brand that our residents know and love.
Have you had any feedback from residents suggesting they particularly approve of your choice of gravy?
The residents love Bisto, we tried similar products but this affected the residents’ dining experience and quality. Bisto is such a well-known brand and gives our residents great memories of home.
Similarly, why choose Country Range Custard, and do the residents appreciate it?
The catering team, residents and relatives are very happy about the quality of Country Range Custard.
Did you enjoy the experience of competing in the live final?
I was really excited because this was my first competition experience and I wanted to make sure I could do the best for myself and the care home. It was essential to show what we can offer in terms of quality, costs and presentation for our residents.
How did you feel when your name was called as the winner?
I was simply over the moon, I didn’t expect it because the other finalists were outstanding, my team at Carlton Court Care Home, Giovanni (Head of Hotel Services) and Luca (Hotel Services Manager) were a big part of the victory. I felt really motivated and supported by them throughout the process.
Have you decided how you will spend the £1,000 prize money?
I haven’t decided yet but I want to discuss and share the prize with the rest of the care home, it’s important the residents are part of it as ultimately, we all do this to make their dining experience the best it can be. I think they deserve to be rewarded with a surprise gift for them to really enjoy.