NHS England & NHS Improvement has confirmed the details of its exciting new competition for NHS chefs, NHS Chef 2021. As well as a traditional competition, NHS Chef 2021 includes a mentoring event and practical sessions. Registration is invited for two-person NHS chef/catering teams until 12 noon on July 30.
The idea for a new award that celebrates NHS chefs high profile was put forward in the Independent Review of NHS Hospital Food. It was part of a range of recommendations to support and develop hospital chefs, to make them feel a part of the wider catering sector, to inspire and motivate them and to celebrate their successes and recognise excellence. NHS Chef 2021 will highlight the best of NHS catering, chefs' skills, catering knowledge and menu engineering.
Phil Shelley, Chair of the Hospital Food Review says: “The NHS Chef 2021 competition is an ideal opportunity to showcase the great work that is undertaken every single day by all NHS caterers.
“Competitors will highlight their skills and innovation, within realistic constraints. Menus will focus on reduced saturated fats, sugars and salts and be nutritionally balanced. All menus will be shared across the NHS and form part of a wider NHS Menu Bank. The Menu Bank, once developed, will be available for thousands of NHS caterers to draw from.
“I wish all the competitors the best of luck and look forward to seeing their exciting dishes!”
The competition is split into three parts, with seven regional events to be held from August to September. The winners of which will move into a national final. A mentoring event will be held from September 28 – 30 at the MKN Office and Presentation Kitchen in Cannock, which will allow finalists to network, attend practical sessions to help develop their entries for the finals and to work with their mentors.
Each team will have 90 minutes to prepare, cook and present a three-course meal in line with hospital food budgets. The meal must reflect Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services, the Department of Health and Social Care's Obesity Strategy and must be nutritionally balanced in accordance with the British Dietetic Association (BDA) guidance.
The dishes must be garnished in a way that is realistic within an NHS hospital setting and all hot meals will be placed in a serving trolley/hotplate for 10 minutes before being judged.
The winning team from each regional event will progress to the final, which will be held between October 25 and November 5 at The Cooking School in Warminster. The competition is only open to chefs/caterers who are paid directly through the NHS, or through its contracted catering providers, or suppliers who prepare meals for the NHS.
Prue Leith, Celebrity Chef and Adviser to the Hospital Food Review has encouraged hospital chefs and caterers to engage with this competition. “If you are a chef working in the NHS and you are producing excellent food every day then please enter NHS Chef 2021 and get the recognition for what you do. What are waiting for?” Prue tweeted.
For the full terms and conditions and to apply for this exciting new event, please email: [email protected] with ‘NHS Chef 2021’ as the subject line.
For the regional events competitors will be tasked to produce a three-course meal in line with hospital food budgets:
• The starter must not contain any animal protein and can be either hot or cold - plant-based cheese and milk can be used if required
• The main course can be vegetarian, meat or fish and must be served hot
• The dessert must be 50% fruit-based - either hot or cold.
Three portions of each course must be produced. All dishes must be suitable for delivery to the patient via a trolley.