Savernake View Chef Beats Peers to Win Contest Judged by Michelin Starred Chef

Ilona Tomza, our head chef, won the ‘Chef of the Year’ category in this year’s Porthaven Hospitality Challenge, an annual competition which tests chefs through a series of challenges over the course of six months.

The competition involved a series of challenges designed to test the skills of the competing chefs, not only in respect of the cooking, but also, their understanding of nutrition in older age. Former Michelin starred chef John Wood oversaw the contest and was one of the head judges in the culmination of the competition ‘The Chef Cook Off’, a MasterChef-style day of cooking challenges. John is best known for being executive chef in renowned kitchens like the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, The Cliveden Hotel and for working with The Savoy and The Dorchester.

Speaking about the competition at the prize giving held on Thursday 20th September, John said ‘It’s been phenomenal this year. I’ve been involved with Porthaven for a number of years now and the standard of cooking this year has been the highest I have seen. All the chefs are exceptional and any one of the dishes produced would have held their own in a high end restaurant.’ He went on to say, ‘Ilona thoroughly deserved to scoop the top prize, her cooking is outstanding from its creativity through to its presentation and eating.’

Cathy Fountain, our home manager, was thrilled for Ilona. ‘She is an exceptional chef as anyone who has tasted her food will attest to. I’m very proud of her and our residents will be too when they hear the news!’