Freeman Hospital chefs take home HCA Hot Cookery Competition

HCA winners Mark Seales and Jamie Bolam with judges
15/03/2018 - 07:00
The Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) named Freeman Hospital chefs Mark Seales and Jamie Bolam, the winners of its 2018 Hot Cookery Competition during Hotelympia last week (8 March).

Tasked with creating a four-cover, two-course hospital meal at no more than £2.10 per head, per cover, the six teams had to follow “strict” hospital guidelines to ensure all dishes were “nutritionally balanced and suitable for NHS patients.”

The winning dishes – which earned Seales and Bolam a Silver Best in Class award - consisted a balsamic glazed chicken and smoked bacon liver bon bon with a spicy puy lentil casserole main and white chocolate and berry custard tart for dessert.

Having competed in the 2016 final and also silver award recipients in both 2010 and 2014, Seales commented: “It means a lot. We’ve been doing this for four/five years. It was the first time we have ever done the dish and it all came together on the day, so we’re really pleased.”

Freeman Hospital catering manager, Geoffrey Moyle, added: “I’m feeling very pleased for them. They have been trying for many years and have been close. This is a good start to the year for the hospital and department.”

As well as commended for the “originality and interesting flavours” they used, judge Lawrence Keogh also felt “the chefs went the extra mile (on the day).”

HCA chair Stewart McKenzie added:
“Many congratulations to Freeman Hospital for winning Silver Best in class - this is an amazing achievement.

“The ability to follow the strict guidelines given, without comprising taste, was challenging. All competitors worked extremely hard and were highly praised by the judges. It was a pleasure to watch our members showcase their talent and skill in a competition like this.”

Lead judge Harry Lomas, who sat alongside Lawrence Keogh, Omero Gallucci and Shari Han, said: “It was an absolute delight to be asked to judge the competition and has been a privilege to be here this week. I can tell you that the food was pretty much the best food we’ve tasted all week, it was brilliant.

“I had the opportunity to speak to the teams. They are all very passionate about what they do, and what was good about the food produced was that it was good food, hot, colourful, simply prepared and delivered. It has the flavours, crunch and textures, exactly as food should be. Each and every team delivered that.

“All judges had nothing but praise about the teams. The desserts blew me away. They were all very nice and in a competition like that, it’s the desserts that let people down. The blue plates were brilliant. It definitely draws your attention to where the food is.”

The full list of competitors and awards is as below:

  • Mark Seales and Jamie Bolam - Freeman Hospital (Newcastle upon Tyne) – winners, Silver best in class 

  • Paul O’Brien and Rebecca Romeo - The London Clinic - Silver Award 

  • Bobby D’cunha and Bilan Gurang - Frimley Hospital (Frimley) - Silver Award 

  • Lorraine Shopland and Amanda Hall - Musgrove Park Hospital (Taunton) - Bronze Award 

  • Terry Farmer and Greg Coomer - St Anns Hospital (Poole) - Bronze Award 

  • Nigel Thompson and Karl Roberts - Northern General Hospital (Sheffield) - Bronze Award 

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