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Hospital chefs wow the judges at Hot Cookery competition

At the end of a busy week of cooking competitions at the industry's prestigious Salon Culinaire during Hotelympia, hospital chef teams stole the show.


Judge, Harry Lomas, confirmed the Hospital Caterers Association's (HCA) Hot Cookery competition was the highest scoring event of all the competitions throughout the week and added that the food served was the best he had tasted all week. "Good food, simply prepared and delivered, not messed around with but with all the colours, texture and taste you want. Brilliant."


The truth of this praise was revealed when the results were read out. Each of the six teams achieved Bronze or Silver standard - an unprecedented first time this has ever happened. The structure of this competition is such that the team achieving the highest score will win, regardless of the level of award given. Teams have to achieve at least a Certificate of Merit standard to receive a certificate and/or medal. For all the teams to be awarded Bronze or Silver standard is an incredible achievement.


The challenge to the competing chefs was to cook and plate two courses (main and dessert) in 60 minutes. The courses must be suitable for serving on an NHS menu, at a cost that must not exceed £2.10 per head. The main course had to be hot and include sustainable chicken with a British influence and the dessert had to be a classic, fruit-based pudding containing less than 10g of added sugar per portion. Harry Lomas was particularly enthusiastic about the desserts. "They blew me away," he said. "Often it's the dessert that lets them down, but not today."


Chefs Mark Seales and Jamie Bolam from Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne triumphed on the day, with a Silver award and Best in Class. Their winning two courses were a Chicken Leg and Liver Bon Bon and Lentil Casserole followed by a Lemon and Berry Basil Tart.


Also taking a Silver award were:


Frimley Hospital in Frimley - Chefs Bobby D’cunha and Bilan Gurang served Chicken Roulade & Potato Rosti with Seasonal Vegetables and a Chorizo Veloute followed by Poached Pear Crumble and Vanilla Custard.


The London Clinic - Chefs Paul O’Brien and Rebecca Romeo served Pan Fried Corn-fed Chicken with Spring Puree and a dessert of Orange, Rhubarb and Honey Bread Pudding.


The following achieved Bronze awards:


Northern General Hospital, Sheffield - Chefs Nigel Thompson and Karl Roberts served Poached Chicken Breast in a Yorkshire Pudding with Celeriac Puree, Asparagus and Redcurrant Gravy followed by a Blackberry and Ginger Tartlet with Cream.


St Ann’s Hospital, Poole - Chefs Terry Farmer and Greg Coomer served Stuffed Chicken Breast with Rostis, Carrots, Sautéed Savoy Cabbage, Shallots and sliced Bacon and a Layered Cheesecake for dessert.


Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton - Chefs Lorraine Shopland and Amanda Hall served Succulent Chicken with a Trio of Vegetables followed by Autumn Crumble and Cream.