A chef who’s cooked for the Queen, top politicians, celebrities and sports stars as well as for Michelin star restaurants, is in line for an award for his work with South Wales care homes.
Brian Lane, who works for industry-leading care provider, Hallmark Care Homes, has also been a judge in the preliminary rounds for those seeking to be crowned TV’s MasterChef.
Now, following more than 43 years of cookery experience, he has been shortlisted for a prestigious Wales Care Award.
Brian is executive chef for Hallmark and for the last 18 months has supported a team of 40 chefs at 16 homes with their menus, working alongside them in the kitchen and creating cookery workshops where the chefs can gain further knowledge and improve their existing skills.
Among them is a string of homes in South Wales, including Cartref Annwyl Fan Care Home in Betws, Bryn Celyn Care Home in Maesteg, Regency House Care Home in the Ely area of Cardiff, Shire Hall Care Home in Cardiff, Ty Enfys Care Home in Cardiff, Cherry Tree Care Home in Caldicot and Greenhill Manor Care Home in Pentrebach.
He’s brought to the care sector a wealth of creative culinary experience from working with household-name Michelin star chefs, including Tom Kerridge.
Brian, of Reigate in Surrey, has worked at St James’s Palace and TVAM, catering for the dining needs of a raft of dignitaries and famous names. His knowledge and teaching skills are now proving to be a recipe for success in the social care sector.
At the Wales Care Awards, Brian has been nominated for the Commitment to Quality in Housekeeping and Hospitality Award.
While passionate about quality, Brian’s approach is far from that of ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’ Colleagues describe Brian as patient, while he pushes the boundaries – trying fresh ideas to enhance the mealtime experience for residents.
One colleague described him as the best chef with whom he had worked, his love of food “a joy” and his craft skill “immense.” Meeting the culinary needs of residents in care homes can present an extra challenge, but since he joined Hallmark, Brian has improved the quality of food that chefs produce, teaching them new skills such as how to make softer foods aesthetically pleasing as well as much loved desserts and homemade baking treats.
He said: “I go around all of the homes, to mentor and motivate Hallmark Care Homes chef’s to deliver outstanding, exciting and well-presented food to the residents.
“My workshops look at creating delicious sauces, pastries, baked goods, hot and cold desserts and meals suitable for those living with dementia.
“I enjoy working alongside my team and I like to think I treat my colleagues with respect, you are not going to achieve anything by bellowing at anyone and if you do a good job with your colleagues on the frontline, the residents will benefit!
“It’s no secret but I get a lot of joy out of seeing other people develop and learn and improve their craft.”
The winners of the Wales Care Awards will be announced at a glittering presentation evening at City Hall in Cardiff on November 17th. They will be hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.
He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.
“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job, it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.
“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring, you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.
“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.
“It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”