PJ Care News & Events

Eagle Wood’s ‘by Royal appointment’ chef wins national award

The Head Chef at Eagle Wood, our Peterborough care centre, who at one time cooked for the Queen, has been named as the best in the business.

Sam Mitchell won the title of Care Chef of the Year at a gala awards evening in London last week. He beat off competition from chefs from all over the UK, after a Masterchef-style cook-off, to win the National Care Awards trophy.

He was presented with his prize by England test cricketer and TV personality Phil Tufnell at a black-tie event at Metropole Hotel organised by Caring Times Magazine.

Sam said: “It’s a wonderful award, and I’m so proud to have won it. I was up against some really brilliant chefs, so I’m really glad to have been able to impress the judges with my menus and cooking.”

Sam started working at Eagle Wood in July. Our specialist centre in Bretton Way, cares for people with a range of conditions, including young-onset dementia, brain injury and progressive neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease.

Before arriving at Eagle Wood, Sam was a chef with the RAF from 1987 until 2012, at one time being stationed at St James’s Palace where he cooked meals for the Queen.

He said: “Those were great times. I once made the mistake of suggesting soup as a starter for Her Majesty. She said: ‘One doesn’t do soup – too messy!’ It was a priceless moment.”

Eagle Wood is owned and managed by PJ Care. The company’s Head of Operations, Mark Butler, said: “Sam’s done a wonderful job since he arrived at Eagle Wood. He has remarkable energy – which is vital in such a high pressure environment – as well as being an imaginative chef and a great leader.

“Preparing food for people with neurological problems – who perhaps have difficulty swallowing, or have complex dietary needs – is a real art. And we’re very lucky to have Sam working with us.”

Our £12 million neurological centre took in its first residents in the summer of 2012, and was officially opened in September by Time Team and Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson.