She only went and won it! Head Chef at Gibraltar Nursing Home in Monmouth, Bettina Martin, was presented the most prestigious accolade at the Vegetarian For Life’s 2022 Awards for Excellence in Vegetarian and Vegan Care Catering.
The nominees were honoured in a ceremony held at the Houses of Parliament, where Bettina took home the trophy for Veggie Care Chef of the Year. Bettina, who attended with Gibraltar’s Home Manager Verity, was over the moon. First launched in 2016, the Annual Awards highlight the importance of catering well to the older generation of vegans and vegetarians in care home’s.
On arrival, all guests were greeted with a glass of bubbly and a gift bag containing a variety of vegan treats and recipes before being shown to their tables in the beautifully set up Jubilee Room. The ceremony began with inspiring talks on the importance of plant-based nutrition in care home catering from keynote speakers. We then spent the afternoon engaging in creative workshops that allowed all the nominees across the sector to share ideas and illustrate how veggie and vegan care home catering can go from good to great.
For one exercise, each group was given a different hypothetical event at the home – Mother’s Day, movie night, Bonfire night etc. We then designed a plant-based menu in theme with our event. The innovative dishes that people came up with and the enthusiasm with which everyone presented their menus gave me hope for the future of plant-based nutrition in care homes. The room had a relaxed, positive atmosphere and everyone was fully engaged with the workshops which made for some very interesting conversations.
When the time arrived to announce the awards, the room was full of respect for everyone doing their all to improve the quality of life for vegan and vegetarians in the healthcare sector. We clapped for veggie wholesaler of the year, hospital caterer, most innovative veggie dish, charity trust recognition award, and finally, Bettina.
Chief Executive of Vegetarian for Life, Amanda Woodvine, had the following to say about the impact Bettina is making at Gibraltar Nursing Home. “Your contribution to the sector is making a profound difference to people’s daily lives. From all of us at Vegetarian for Life – thank you for all that you do, and the huge impact that you are making.”
It took until the following day for Bettina to collect her thoughts and respond to this profound moment in her career. ‘Now I have stopped buzzing from excitement I want to thank all of you for the best wishes beforehand and the congratulations after. We did it team! And Verity you really are the best manager we have ever had. Thank you my friend for all the support you don’t know how appreciated you are!’
We can’t wait to see what magic Bettina creates in the kitchen next!
To read more about the day and to see the full list of winners click here.