The Platform café at Quarryfields celebrates Exemplar’s first international food festival

The Platform, a resident-run café at Quarryfields, an Exemplar specialist care home in Doncaster’s Balby suburb, celebrated the first Exemplar Culinary Festival on Wednesday.

On the lawn, residents, care teams, council members and members of the public tucked in to Irish stew, American hot dogs, Indian curries and German black forest gateau – and lots more.

“The culinary food festival was a great day and one that both staff and service users won’t forget,” said its organiser, Heather Johnson.

“We enjoyed culinary delights from all over the world and fabulous decorations from other nations, added Heather, who is an education facilitator at Quarryfields and The Platform, the resident-run café.

“The innovative way in which The Platform project works has had such a positive effect on the moral and day to day life of everyone involved,” Heather added. Next year, when Heather retires, Abbie Dixon, her assistant, will take over.

People at the festival were serenaded by Kerry Fleming, a team leader, and got the chance to win a hamper of fine foods from around the world.

Lots of the food and fun at the festival were provided by seven other specialist care homes from Exemplar Health Care, the Rotherham-based operator, which runs 27 homes.

The food stalls were judged and the winner was Dearnevale, an Exemplar care home in Barnsley. Attendees were impressed with its Guinness vegetarian shepherd’s pie, Guinness beef Irish stew, puff pastry and potato cakes, and Bailey’s cheesecake.

Next year, Dearnevale – which is rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission – will host the second Exemplar Culinary Festival.

Organisations that sent representatives to the festival include Doncaster Council, Sheffield Hallam University/Sport England, Doncaster’s Linney Centre, and Balby South Police Community Support Officers.

Quarryfield’s resident-run café, The Platform, provides education, employment and training to individuals with learning disabilities and mental ill-health. As well as serving gourmet coffee from Frazer’s Coffee Roasters in Sheffield, and home-made cakes, the café’s residents have also compiled a recipe book of sweet treats.