North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust takes silver at HCA Hot Cookery Competition

On March 3rd, Richard Kirton and Ian Cannon from North Tees Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust fought off competition from seven other hospital chef teams to take home Silver Best in Class.

Each chef team had one hour to cook a beef-based two course hospital meal in front of a large crowd at the live theatre Hotelympia, in the coveted Salon Culinaire HCA Hot Cookery competition.

2016 winners (L to R) Judges Graham Crump and Steve Oram.  David Grundy of Hobart Cooking Solutions, Winners Richard Kirton and Ian Cannon North Tees. Worshipful Company of Cooks, Judge Lawrence Keogh and Phil Shelley HCA National Chair.

2016 winners (L to R) Judges Graham Crump and Steve Oram. David Grundy of Hobart Cooking Solutions, Winners Richard Kirton and Ian Cannon North Tees. Worshipful Company of Cooks, Judge Lawrence Keogh and Phil Shelley HCA National Chair

Kirton and Cannon of North Tees won with their main meal of pot roasted beef cheeks served with vegetable and creamed horseradish mash and rhubarb and custard with Italian meringue tart for dessert.

Kirton said: “We are so pleased and surprised to win today, especially looking at the high standard around us. It’s our fifth time entering but the standard has got so much higher.”

Cannon adds: “We tried the main with several cuts of beef to see which would perform best under the time limit. It’s very hard to produce slow cooked beef in just one hour. For example the pressure cooker takes 10 minutes just to pressurise, so that’s valuable time given away before you have even started.”

And Colin Chapman, Head of Catering for the Trust who was on hand to support the team comments; “The team came in just under budget at £2.08, and we are thrilled they have won such a coveted award. The winning recipes will most certainly go on the menu at the hospital, starting with a trial in the restaurant”

National Chair Phil Shelley added: “We are tremendously proud of the high standard and quality of this year’s competitors which seems to improve year on year.

New recipes have a huge impact on hospital kitchens but many staff don’t have the time or resources to try out new things. This competition showcases recipes which by the nature of the competition rules will be compliant and ready to use within NHS kitchens nationwide.”

The Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) competition, sponsored by Hobart Cooking Solutions and The Worshipful Company of Chefs, was judged by five prestigious Salon Culinare chefs. No allowance was made for the hospital background and all entries were judged on restaurant quality dining.

Judge Lawrence Keogh, former head chef at London’s Wolseley comments; “Year on year we have seen huge improvements in the HCA hospital chef competition. This year in particular I was very impressed with the hygiene and cleanliness in the way they worked, proving this is really high on their agenda. It’s absolutely marvellous that hospital chefs can compete at restaurant level, judged by award winning chefs.”

Scottish Cranachan Cheesecake by NHS Ayrshire & Arran

Of the winners he said; “The judges were unanimous in their decision. The beef cheeks had good taste texture and presentation and with a few tweaks could have been awarded Gold.”

Judge Graham Crump agreed; It’s the hardest job in the world to feed people that don’t want to be fed. These guys here today have certainly raised the bar of hospital cooking. The piping on the meringue dessert was excellent.”

And Judge Steve Oram followed up: “It’s so hard to produce flavour with the salt and fat restrictions hospital caterers are under, but the Chefs here used their skill to bring out the flavours with herbs and good ingredients. If North Tees’ could have cooked the Ox cheeks just a bit longer and reduced the jus to make it sticky and glossy it may have tipped Kirton and Cannon into Gold”

The competition seeks to showcase best in class hospital catering and to highlight the constraints and unique environments that hospital chefs have to work under, producing scaled up dining every day. A thought echoed by multiple award winning Judge Chef Hayden Groves: “It’s a privilege to be asked to judge – these guys do fantastic essential cooking day in day out”

David Grundy, Government account manager for Hobart Cooking Solutions added; “It was a great day, one which really showed the industry and the HCA at its very best. We have supported the event for over ten years and look forward to continuing our partnership with the HCA”

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

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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