Chris Lay retires from Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) hot cookery competition

On March 3rd at the biennial Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) hot cookery competition, Chris Lay Facilities Manager of St Ann’s Hospital Dorset Healthcare, retired from his role as competition organiser.

Stepping down after over ten years in the post he will be succeeded by Simon Clark, Head of Catering at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Lay comments: “This year has been quite emotional as I have decided to stand down from organising this wonderful event. Ten years or so have simply flown by. I would like to thank Phil and his fellow National Officers for the wonderful gift - I will treasure it for ever and it will serve as a continual reminder of the dedicated and talented staff that it's been my pleasure to meet, work with and hopefully encourage over the years.”

He continues: “It is a testament to the importance of good hospital food, that despite difficult times, Trusts and Boards still see food as a key component of good patient care and will support their staff to showcase their services and talents by attending the competition”

And adds: “I wish Simon Clark from Great Ormond Street every success and good wishes as he takes up the reins for our next Hot Cookery Competition at Hotelympia 2018 - it'll be here before we know it. Simon is passionate about competition work. Two years ago when at The London Clinic his team took our top honours and this year on top of recruiting three apprentice chefs he has been mentoring and judging for the Future Chef Competition. I hope people will get behind him and offer him the same support as they have to me.”

The competition takes place every two years at Hotelympia within the prestige Salon Culinaire competition. This year each chef team had one hour to cook a beef-based two course hospital meal. Chef duo Richard Kirton and Ian Cannon from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust took home silver best-in-class for their pot roasted beef cheeks served with vegetables and creamed horseradish mash, and rhubarb and custard Italian meringue tart for dessert.

Phil Shelley, National Chair comments: Chris has done an outstanding job with the competition growing in strength every year. To fill so many stations with volunteers is certainly an achievement but to do so and raise the bar for standards each year is incredible, he will be sorely missed. We look forward to welcoming Simon Clark to the team for 2018.

The Hospital Caterers Association competition, sponsored by Hobart Cooking Solutions and The Worshipful Company of Cooks, was judged by five prestigious Salon Culinaire Chefs including Lawrence Keogh, Graham Crump, Steve Oram and Hayden Groves.

Chris Lay


The full list of results:

Certificate of Merit

  • Newcastle Freeman Hospital, Mark Seales and Jamie Bolam
  • Frimley Park Hospital, Bilan Gurung and Bobby Womersley
  • University Hospital Ayr, Phil McPherson and Campbell Rodgers
  • Darlington Memorial Hospital, Daniel Bamlett and Ian Glenton
  • Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Allan Campbell and Iain Keowan
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital, Andrew Page and Jean Spio-Garbrah

Bronze Award

Betsi Cadwalader Local Health Board, Zoltan Furjes (North Wales Adolescent Unit – Abergele) and Robert Worgan (Ysybty Gwynedd – Bangor.

Silver Best-in-Class

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust. Richard Kirton and Ian Cannon.

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Editors notes.

Salon Culinaire Hospital Caterers Association Hot Cookery Competition at Hotelympia London, 2016.

Eight finalist teams had one hour to compete for the coveted Gold Best in Class chef’s team award. Each team had to prepare a main meal and dessert, suitable for a NHS client and the food cost must not exceed £2.10 per head. The teams were required to present detailed costing for their menus and the meal must be suitable for generic NHS patient with emphasis on reduced saturated fats, sugars and salts whilst being nutritionally sound.

At least 65% of all ingredients must be farmed or produced within the UK and both courses must be suitable to produce 50 portions.

Two portions must be presented high end restaurant style and two portions presented as if served from a bulk- service ward trolley and the main course must include vegetables and beef as a protein item.

Hospital Caterers Association

With over 300 million meals served every year and around £500 million spent on food annually by around 300 NHS Trust across approximately 1200 hospitals, the NHS is the UK catering industry’s largest provider of meals.

The aims and objectives of the HCA are the promotion, development and improvement of the standards of catering in hospitals and healthcare establishments in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and elsewhere; the education and training of persons in health care catering services, and the provision and improvement of the professional interests and status of those engaged in health care catering services.

The HCA has 15 branches nationally and a membership of over 400 members.

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