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Scotland edges the NHS 4 Nations Chef Challenge

(L-R) Nick Vadis, Alan Dougan, HCA National Chair Brian Robb, James Dougan, Salon Chief Director Steve Munkley.

James Dougan and Alan Dougan, from Greater Glasgow and Clyde were awarded Best in Class in a fiercely contested exhibition that saw Scotland, Northern Ireland and England come together for the first time in the live cooking theatre at the International Salon Culinaire held during HRC at London’s Excel.

The International Salon Culinaire is not a competition, everyone or no one can win a gold medal, but the judges had their work cut out to separate the teams who were representing their various HCA Branches.

To gain a gold medal the chefs had to achieve a score in excess of 90%, so we were delighted to see four of teams presented with their coveted gold medals. These included James and Alan along with the NHS Chef 2022 champions, Shelley Pearson-Smith and Erica Bell from Stockport NHS Foundation Trust; James Richardson and Joseph Hennigan, Solent NHS Trust; Angela Dickson and Darren Taggart from Northern Ireland’s Northern Ireland’s Northern H&SC Trust H&SC Trust.

Silver medals were awarded to Shane O’Neil and Philip Rooney from Northern Ireland’s South Eastern H&SC Trust and Kerrey Healey and Natasha Day from Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust. Les Beare and Josh Banner from Wye Valley NHS Trust were awarded a bronze, meaning that every team medalled on the day – something that is a magnificent achievement in such an internationally respected event. Les and Josh’s achievement deserves special mention as Josh only started as an apprentice last autumn.

Each team had to produce a three-course meal, with three distinct portions, within a budget of between £5 and £6.

Alan and James’ ‘Best in Class’ dishes included a starter of Beetroot, delivered three ways – roasted, pickled and pureed. This was followed by a main course of Herb Crusted Salmon, served with crushed baby potatoes, baby leeks and asparagus, finished with a lemon and cream sauce. Their Raspberry Cranachan, with toasted oats and a fruit coulis served with homemade shortbread completed the meal.

HCA Chair, Brian Robb attended the event and said afterwards: “What a day, the Hospital Caterers Association NHS 4 Nations Challenge, exceeded all expectations. Nick Vadis calmed the teams prior to their experience and wow they did not disappoint. Public Sector Catering was put back on the map with exceedingly high standards. All our competitors have left this experience with new friendships and treasured memories.”

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