Stuart Keown, a Chef Manager at Sunrise Senior Living UK, has been nominated by the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) for the ‘Catering Manager of the Year Award’, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions.
The award goes to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities over the last twelve months, having also positively empowered colleagues and customers and improved the quality of service provided.
Stuart started at Sunrise Senior Living UK’s Sunrise of Banstead care home in November 2006 as a Kitchen Assistant, before going on to become Head Chef, and then Dining Service Coordinator. Having previously won the NACC Catering Manager of the Year Award in 2017, Stuart could have been forgiven for being satisfied to rest. But ultimately his passion and determination has driven him over the past year to strive for recognition once more.
Throughout the pandemic, Stuart has supported those Sunrise Senior Living UK’s care homes suffering difficulties as a result of having no chef with IDDSI status, to ensure residents continued to receive high quality, nutritious food. Stuart’s commitment was in spite of not having a car and travelling on public transport during the height of Covid-19 peaks, while observing social distancing measures.
Stuart was unwavering in his dedication to have regular tests for Covid-19 and was the first in line for the vaccine when his turn came to ensure his work remained unaffected. And, when he tested positive for the virus in July 2021, he continued to work from home to support the care home provider’s care homes, and train staff where necessary.
Over the past year, he has supported 23 chefs in video training to become IDDSI competent, in addition to the strenuous tasks of his day job. He trained two of his junior catering staff in the last year to also support their own care home and subsequently support other homes, taking one staff member from the brink of leaving, to applying for a Head Chef role.
Speaking of his nomination, Stuart Keown said:
“I am delighted. I’ve had a very productive twelve months. I’m fit and well, and it is reflected in my work. Helping others and delivering high quality service are important, and I take great pride in being recognised for doing those things every day.”
Sophie Murray, Head of Nutrition and Hydration, at Sunrise Senior Living UK, said:
“Stuart thoroughly deserves to have received this prestigious nomination. When needed, he is the first on the phone to the support team and the first to embrace positive change through his thoughtful approach.
“His is humble in nature while his commitment to our residents is always 150%. When any of our colleagues speak to him, it is clear that he sees nothing strange in going the extra mile. He is a firm believer in delivering exceptional service to our residents, and is driven by a philosophy that this has to be achieved without fail.”