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Leamington Spa chef scoops national award

Nikolina Dimitrova, a chef at Priors House care home in Leamington Spa, has won Care UK’s Chef of the Year competition after competing against three other chefs from Care UK homes.

Dimitrova, known to residents and the team as Nina, scooped the award after judges recognised her personalised approach to the food she prepares, tailoring dishes to residents’ personal tastes and dietary requirements. She moved to the UK eight years ago and has been working in the culinary sector ever since, joining Priors House in 2014.

Dimitrova’s menu, which included Asian marinated cod loins with squash puree and sauté vegetables, and a chocolate pave with caramel brittle, tantalised the judges’ taste-buds.

Care UK’s Chef of the Year competition is held annually and recognises the best culinary talent in more than 100 Care UK homes around the country.

The four chefs took part in a ‘cook off’ at Unilever’s professional kitchens in Leatherhead, Surrey. Nina’s winning dishes included Asian marinated cod loins with squash puree and sauté vegetables, and a chocolate pavé with caramel brittle.

Francine Summers, home manager at Priors House, said, “The Chef of the Year competition is a brilliant opportunity for the chefs at Care UK to show their talent and expertise. We’re delighted that Nina’s cookery skills have been recognised, and know that she will continue to impress residents with her culinary panache.”

Dimitrova said, “I’m thrilled to have won Care UK’s Chef of the Year competition. The level of skill and creativity from the other chefs was really high.

'I’m really pleased to have been recognised for my ability to create food residents enjoy, and for the high standard of cooking on offer at Priors House. I thoroughly enjoy my job and find it very rewarding, particularly when residents with smaller appetites enjoy the meals I prepare.”