A MARLBOROUGH care home chef has beaten her peers to win a contest judged by a former Michelin-starred chef.

Ilona Tomza, a chef at the Savernake View care home, won the Chef of the Year category in an annual competition which tests chefs through a series of challenges over the course of six months.

The competition, run by Porthaven Care Homes which operates Savernake View, is 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 has overseen 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.

Mr Wood is best known for being executive chef in renowned kitchens such as the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, The Cliveden Hotel and for working with The Savoy and The Dorchester.

He 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.

“Ilona thoroughly deserved to scoop the top prize, her cooking is outstanding from its creativity through to its presentation and eating.”

Savernake View Care Home manager, Cathy Fountain was thrilled by Ilona’s success, saying: “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!’

Located just off Salisbury Road in Marlborough, the newly-built Savernake View caters for a wide range of care needs from residential through to nursing and dementia care.