Announcing the winner, Phil Shelley, senior operational and policy manager for soft FM at NHS Estates & Facilities, said: “The scoring through the competition has been incredibly close, which is great as it shows you’ve all continued that improvement.
“But it’s important also to say that the winners are absolutely stand-out and they should be incredibly proud.”
The pair, who are based at the Trust’s Stepping Hill Hospital, cooked a four-course menu of a starter of watercress soup and poached egg served with garlic oil and home-made croutons; they followed this with braised ox cheek, celeriac fondant, roasted carrot and seasonal greens; then came wild mushroom tagliatelle with lemon parsley crumb; and finally a dessert of fondant pudding with Chantilly cream, chocolate crumb and a salted caramel sauce.
Second place went to the Wye Valley NHS Trust team of Les Beare and Josh Banner, while Jim Richardson and Joe Hennigan from Solent NHS Trust came in third.
The competition began earlier in the year with a round of four regional heats which saw four winners and the four best runners-up go forward to a two-stage final.
A mentoring event for the eight teams ran from October 5-7 at First Choice Group’s training centre in Cannock. This included presentations, workshops, assigning mentors, and equipment demonstrations.
This helped prepare them for a two-stage final, with the first part running over three days from October 25-27 when they were set a series of challenges.
These included recreating dishes from a set of ingredients, guessing ingredients from taste as well as producing a breakfast menu, cooking with venison and then showing understanding of ‘energy-dense’ nutrition and how to prepare meals in a low carbon way.
From this session the eight teams were whittled down to a final five that competed this week from November 1-3. They were then challenged to produce menus suitable for those with allergies or dietary restrictions as well as creating sweet and savoury snacks and some ‘light option’ supper ideas.
Judging of these tasks saw East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust eliminated to leave just three teams to contest the grand final.
The competition was sponsored by First Choice Group, Hobart, Rational, Lockhart Catering Equipment, Churchill, apetito and Wiltshire Farm Foods, MKN, Highland Game, ISS, Medirest, and the Worshipful Company of Cooks.