A team of two chefs from East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) has won NHS Chef 2021. Sanish Thomas and Sinto Mulavarickal scooped first place in yesterday’s final with their four-course menu of Vegan Samosa & Tamarind Chutney, Roulade of Seabass with Bouillabaisse, Duck Breast with Apple & Mushroom Stuffing, Duchess Potato, Braised Red Cabbage & Orange Sauce, and Sticky Toffee Pudding.
ELHT Facilities Manager, Tim Radcliffe, told Pulse he couldn’t be more proud to see his team triumph.
NHS Chef 2021 is a new competition, which aims to showcase the skills of NHS chefs alongside the extent of the knowledge they must possess in order to meet the specific challenges of patient catering within the health service. Getting to the final is no mean feat, and all of the chef teams that progressed this far should be congratulated. Following qualification via regional heats held across the country, the finalists competed over several days and were presented with a number of specific challenges all relevant to hospital catering. These included: a breakfast challenge; following a set recipe; children’s menu options; plant-based meals; energy-dense; allergen menus; ethnic, cultural & lifestyle choices; sweet & savoury snacks; and light options menus. This stage of the competition moved into a knock-out phase which saw teams gradually eliminated from the competition.
The finalists were also mentored as part of this competition programme. Each team was allocated a professional mentor to help them to hone their skills and the opportunity for chefs from different Trusts to meet and network also enabled sharing of ideas and further learning opportunities. All of the teams that reached the finals will take those new skills and experience back to their Trusts to share with their colleagues and to put into practice for the benefit of the hospital.
Speaking ahead of the announcement of the winner, Simon Corben, Head of Profession for Estates & Facilities at NHS England & Improvement commented on the friendly atmosphere throughout the day and said he hoped all the finalists would become NHS chef ambassadors. “You should all be immensely proud of what you’ve achieved,” he said.
The King's Lynn Hospital team of James Frusher and Teresa Ferriera finished in second place, and third place went to Martin Watts and Giles Hensser of Royal Devon & Exeter. The teams eliminated in the earlier stages of the finals were Dorset University Hospitals, West London NHS Trust, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.