A young cook who was teased for not being able to boil an egg at the beginning of her career is a finalist in a nationwide competition.

Telhia Jones, 25, began working in the kitchen at Greenhill Manor Care Home, Merthyr Tydfil, five years ago.

After rising to the challenge, she is now hailed as a master baker by friends, colleagues and residents alike.

Her culinary efforts have been rewarded and she is now a finalist for the Excellence in Catering Award sponsored by Harlech Foodservice at the Wales Care Awards.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the awards, and Telhia will make the short journey to City Hall, Cardiff, on October 19, for the ceremony. The occasion has particular significance this year because it’s the 25th anniversary of Care Forum Wales, who organise the awards.

“I’m very excited and overwhelmed to be shortlisted, and I can’t wait for the ceremony,” said Telhia

“I couldn’t boil an egg when I started, but I can do pretty much anything now!”

Telhia, who started off as a bank kitchen assistant and worked her way up to senior kitchen assistant, is now an accomplished cook, much to the delight of her colleagues and the home’s 120 residents.

The whole care home team, from kitchen to care to management have been involved in Telhia’s nomination for the award, and they are particularly proud of Telhia’s charitable efforts.

Lian Pearsall, Hospitality Manager, said: “Telhia contributes through the home by getting involved in bake sales, where she will make cakes and cookies, and along with the residents, sell them to raise profits.

“On a personal level, she also cooks meals in her own home to donate to the charity, along with paying from her own pocket for accommodation especially during the colder months.

“She’s remarkable.”

Telhia explained: “Every year at Christmas I help raise money for the homeless shelter in Merthyr Tydfil.

“I cook a meal at home to donate to the shelter, and I also pay for a homeless person to have a bed for the night in a hotel.

“I transfer the money over, the charity books the room, and those who donate don’t get to find out who it was they helped but making a difference to someone is a lovely feeling.

“I also did a cake sale for a little girl who lives near me who’s known as The Rainbow Princess. When she was 4 she needed money to go to America to have treatment for cancer.”

Telhia’s comfort food and specialities of pies, crumbles, cakes, and Sunday lunches, are very popular amongst the residents, and are frequently requested.

Lian Pearsall, added: “Telhia is passionate about every dish that leaves the kitchen as she has a great amount of pride in what she does.

“She is becoming a wonderful baker and cake maker contributing to the home’s vision of everything being homemade.”

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.

He said: “This year’s ceremony is an even more special occasion because it marks the 15th anniversary of the Wales Care Awards and the 25th anniversary of Care Forum Wales and the event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.

“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.

“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.

“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.

“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.”