On Thursday 5th March, Prue Leith along with senior members from the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and the Craft Guild of Chefs awarded Gold Best in Class to Lorraine Shopland and Amanda Hall from Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, Somerset. The duo were also awarded the Hygiene certificate.
Sponsored by Hobart Cooking Solutions and The Worshipful Company of Cooks, the competition took place in the Live Theatre, as part of HRC Salon Culinaire. The International Salon Culinaire is the UK’s largest and most prestigious chef competition programme. Comprising of four competition categories it showcases some of the best skills and talent from across the entire industry. It’s an important stage for hospital caterers to share and showcase some of their impressive craft skills and talent against some of the industry’s best.
Prue Leith said: “To feed a hospital patient is not an easy task but these guys who have entered this competition have managed to retain their enthusiasm and innovation and desire to serve good quality food for patients which is not always easy to do in an environment where customers don’t want to be there. I am full of admiration for these guys and to be a hospital chef is very noble in the first place. These people are our heroes.”
In terms of the HCA and the work they are carrying out, Prue added: “The HCA have gone on to champion hospital caterers through thick and thin. I have been so impressed with their enthusiasm to improve hospital catering. I think if it was left to the HCA we would have amazingly good food in hospitals.”
Lorraine Shopland and Amanda Hall commented on their win: “We are both shocked, stunned and amazed that we have achieved gold best in class. We are also delighted to be walking away with the Hygiene award. At our hospital we have been hot on hygiene levels and making sure all staff understand the right procedure in washing their hands.”
Six hospital teams made up of two chefs each, battled to take the number one spot and win the coveted Gold Best in Class award. Each team was required to devise, prepare and cook a two-course hospital meal including a main and dessert within one hour. The cost of each cover had to be no more than £2.60 per head.
Competitors followed strict hospital guidelines, placing emphasis on sustainability, reduced saturated fats, sugars and salts, whilst ensuring all dishes were nutritionally balanced and suitable for NHS patients.
Craig Smith, Chair of the HCA commented: “Lorraine and Amanda from Musgrove Park Hospital are worthy winners of this competition. It was a well fought contest but the cream always rises to the top and they just showed that little bit extra as their dishes reflected what should be on a patient’s plate as opposed to a show plate. They also showed top class work on their hygiene during the competition.”
He added: “This year’s competition is the best one that we have had for several occasions. The quality was excellent and it’s a great showcase for healthcare catering.”
The winning menu comprised of fisherman’s pie; seabass, salmon and haddock in a creamy butter sauce topped with potato, served with vine tomatoes and purple sprouting. This was followed by a citron syllabub accompanied by a fruit berry compote.
Phil Shelley, Competition Director and Chair of the hospital food review commented on the winning team: “This is a fantastic achievement for Musgrove Hospital to be represented first of all at the Salon Culinaire. They have cooked dishes today which every patient would absolutely love to receive every day. The dishes offered plenty of nutrition, colour and taste and using sustainable fish just goes to show Britain at its best.
“This competition is growing in strength. All parts of the UK are here showing off their skills and they are becoming much more confident as we progress and I am sure this competition can continue to grow.”
The competition is an excellent opportunity to place hospital catering on the national stage. It perfectly demonstrates to the wider hospitality audience the constraints hospital caterers work under, in terms of both nutritional restrictions, those of salt and fat content, as well financial restraint.
The competition was judged by lead judge Harry Lomas, head of culinary at Wembley Stadium along with others including Prue Leith, Brian Turner, Kevin Viner and Nick Wort.
Lead judge Harry Lomas commented: “It’s all about dedication and understanding what hospital chefs need to do. The biggest thing for hospitals and getting people well is food. Each and every one of these chefs today are absolutely dedicated to making people well.”
The winners of the HCA competition will receive a two-night stay at the HCA’s annual Learning and Development Forum, taking place 2nd -3rd April in Liverpool. The winning team will cook and showcase their dishes in the HCA live theatre to more than 400 hospital caterers and industry dignitary’s including HCA president Lord Hunt.
Full list of competitors and award placement.
- Musgrove Park Hospital – Lorraine Shopland and Amanda Hall, Gold Best in Class
- Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust – Karen Shrehorn and Joanne Wharton, Silver Best in Class
- The London Clinic – Paul O’Brien and Emmanuel Olubiyi (supported by teacher, Jon Hardy Bachan), Silver Best in Class
- Royal Freeman, Newcastle – Mark Seales and Jamie Bolam, Bronze Best in Class
- Aberdeen Royal Infirmary NHS Grampian – Chris McGuile and Robert Salomia, Bronze Best in Class
- West Suffolk Hospital – James Sumpter and Luke Nobbs, Bronze Best in Class