St Mary's Court Care Home, Braintree, Essex

Top award for Braintree care home chef

By 1st December, 2022 News Comments Off

The head chef at two Braintree care homes has won a prestigious award for the healthy, nutritious and tasty food his team serves up to residents. 

Paul Westall, who conjures up menus to meet the tastes and needs of residents at The New Deanery and St Mary’s Court in Bocking, won the Care Home Chef of the Year Award at the Great British Care Awards, East of England region. 

Paul now goes through to the national finals in March.  

Paul, who has worked at the homes for nearly 14 years, said: “I get great satisfaction from getting things right for our residents and making sure they get the food they like. Some mealtimes we prepare up to 20 different dishes to cater for everyone’s tastes and needs. 

“I like making curries and a few of our residents really like my hot curry and ask for it off menu – but that doesn’t appeal to everyone.” 

Paul and his team regularly chat to residents in the dining rooms to find out what they enjoy and to listen to requests, and Paul chairs the homes’ monthly Residents’ Forums which discuss menus among a range of topics to ensure residents have plenty of choice.  

Andrew Whelan, CEO of Sonnet Care Homes, which runs both homes, said: “Having home-cooked meals they enjoy and choose is part of ensuring each of our residents can live the way they choose.  

“Paul and his team do an amazing job in producing high-quality, balanced menus which make mealtimes a highlight of the day.” 

The award judges described Paul as “a very experienced chef who has taken up the challenge of providing healthy, nutritious and tasty food for residents.”

To find out more about accommodation and respite care at St Mary’s Court Care Home, please call 01376 328600, or visit For more information about The New Deanery, call 01376 558555 or visit