A special feast for people with eating difficulties has won a cook-off for a Huddersfield care home – ahead of others from across the north of England.

Staff at Longroyds and Pilling House Care Home in Skelmanthorpe produced the tasty, nutritious, and easy-to-consume meal for the Hill Care Group Cook-Off contest.

Thirty-six care homes across the group were invited to participate, with Longroyds and Pilling House being awarded first place after judge’s said they produced a “lovely meal that was also pleasing to the eye.”

The competition aimed to raise awareness of dementia care and dietary needs, which can see residents developing issues with chewing food and swallowing – known as dysphagia.

Care home catering teams and management staff were able to demonstrate their knowledge of the importance of creating meals that were not only tempting to the eye and tasty but also high in calories and modified for ease of swallowing.

The Longroyds and Pilling House Care Home meal consisted of a main course of smoky beef stew with broccoli, cauliflower cheese, carrots, and mash potato, followed by dessert of cinnamon and apple oat crumble with custard.

Dan Sheard, home manager at Longroyds and Pilling House Care Home, said: “We’re all thrilled to bits. Offering a positive dining experience and encouraging residents to eat and enjoy their meals is all part of the service we at Longroyds and Pilling offer.”

Vicky Taylor, divisional director for the Hill Care Group, was one of the competition judges. She said: “It was difficult to decide, with so many fantastic dishes.

“However, Dan and the catering team produced an understanding of the needs of residents living with dementia and produced a lovely meal that was also pleasing to the eye.”

Another member of the judging team, Dave Richards, added: “The lovely meal produced by head cook Nicky Widdicombe shows her impressive understanding of the importance of all aspects regarding nutritional content while remembering that other senses of smell and visual appeal are vital to engage the elderly and promote the chances that they will enjoy the meal.

“Often forgotten is the fact that with age some residents will potentially have a less acute palate than when younger, so seasoning, as in the case of paprika, can often be the ‘spice of life.’

“Nicola has, in my opinion, shown a very good understanding and repeatedly delivers the correct texture of diet for each individual resident, ensuring all food items are modified and presented to the highest possible degree, to allow safe swallowing while improving the nutritional outcome for all the residents at Longroyds and Pilling House.”