Two local NHS chefs rose to the occasion during a high-profile cooking competition this week wowing the judges and winning a silver medal.
Kerrey Healey and Natasha Day from Cafe Vie, Isebrook Hospital, in Wellingborough – part of Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) – were competing in the NHS 4 Nations Chef Challenge, part of the world famous International Salon Culinaire, on 20 March 2023 at ExCeL, London.
The pair – who were previously regional winners in 2022’s NHS Chef of the Year, and fourth in the grand finals – competed alongside seven other NHS teams all showcasing their culinary talents.
Each team had to prepare their dishes in front of a live audience and video cameras to produce two portions of a three-course meal, suitable for patients, within a budget of £6.
Team NHFT served up a vegan spring roll with soya, lime, and sweet chilli dip, followed by Venison steak with Petit Pois a la Français, and for dessert a triple berry cobbler with homemade custard.
Dishes were then judged by some of the country’s most successful chefs, namely Harry Lomas MBE BEM FIH (Head of Culinary at Wembley Stadium), Henry Brosi (Executive Chef at The Lansdown Club), and Sarah Hartnett (Pastry Chef and Chocolate Consultant, Founder of Harnetts Artisan Chocolate).
Kerrey and Natasha came second overall, winning a silver medal – with judges praising the high levels of skill and saying they could not find anything to fault their triple berry cobbler. They were narrowly beaten to a gold medal by James Dougan and Alan Dougan from NHS Scotland Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Kerrey said: “It was an honour to represent the Trust and to work alongside Natasha again. It was a great competition to enter, fast paced but enjoyable. The comments we received about the triple berry cobbler, for the second time now, were amazing. It was also lovely to get to catch up with last year’s competition finalists and some of the judges from that too. Getting a silver medal was really lovely and showed we are improving all the time.”
Natashasaid: “We had an amazing day, supported by our managers, and meeting up with friends from the NHS 2022 competition. It gave us the chance to show how our skills in cooking have improved over the whole experience. I was also proud and lucky to be sharing this with my colleague Kerrey.”
David Maher, Deputy Chief Executive at NHFT, said: “I’m thrilled that Kerrey and Natasha were rightly recognised for their skills! We are so fortunate and proud to have such expertise at NHFT, and this has been a great reminder of the importance of the work they do, alongside their colleagues. Kerrey and Natasha exemplify the trust values of caring deeply about everything we do. I hope to be able to try the Triple Berry Cobbler in the near future. Well done to them all again.”
Kerrey and Natasha will now be trialling some of their delicious dishes from the competition at Café Vie at Isebrook Hospital for possible inclusion in future patient menus.
Silver service – Pictured Kerrey Healey and Natasha Day collecting their silver from Steve Munkley, Salon Chef Director, International Salon Culinaire, and Brian Robb Honorary National Chair Director at Hospital Caterer’s Association. Also pictured, cooking their dishes, and some of the dishes they prepared for the competition