Organised by the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), the awards aim to give hospital chefs the opportunity to demonstrate their craft skills, unrestricted by the boundaries set by NHS recipes and menus.
Executive head chef Richard Kirton and chef Ian Cannon from the University Hospital of North Tees served a Gold-winning menu of herb crusted chicken on a bubble and squeak cake served with a crisp medley of winter vegetables followed by rhubarb and ginger cheesecake served with a tuille biscuit.
As winners of the Gold award, Kirton and Cannon automatically become the HCA's Hospital Chefs of the Year. The winning duo said they were delighted to win the award, adding: "The success of all the contestants demonstrates just how skilled hospital chefs are and the huge emphasis that is being placed on preparing meals which are healthy and nutritious, include locally sourced ingredients and are tasty and beneficial to our patients.
Silver award winners were Michael Bowman and Mark Seales from Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, while Sharon Slaughter and Susan Mayhew from Aldeburgh and District Community Hospital in Suffolk took Bronze.
Finalists had to prepare a two course meal suitable for serving to NHS patients at a cost of no more than £1.90 per head for four covers.
HCA chairman Kevan Wallace said: "Hospital catering managers have not needed any convincing about the rising standards of craft skills amongst our front line chefs. The number of medals awarded is proof of their commitment, their passion and their ability to stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best of the chefs in the wider catering fraternity."
By Janie Stamford
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