In a packed 3 days at the end of September, First Choice Group, together with sponsors, MKN and Hobart, hosted a chef mentoring event for NHS staff.
The event, which took place from Tuesday 28 – Thursday 30 September, saw healthcare chefs take part in cook-offs, benefit from dedicated mentoring sessions, and even engage in recipe inspiration demos from leading speakers.
Hosted by First Choice, at the company’s conference and event facilities, just over 50 the National Health Service’s brightest chef talents converged on Cannock. With sustainability being a key topic in the industry, the theme for this year’s event was ‘The Future of Food’ and included a talk on ‘The Net Zero Kitchen’ from the NHS Greener Team, as well as a live cookery session from Meatless Farm titled ‘Enhancing menu choice for healthy, low carbon eating.’
Stuart Brereton, business development manager at MKN, said: “The NHS Mentoring Event was a great way for us to show our commitment to those who’ve given so much to our nation in recent times. From world-class mentors to an impressive line-up of speakers, the event delivered a fantastic agenda. We were also keen to raise awareness of the need to support the future of food, with many of the sessions and the live demos, hosted in the dedicated First Choice kitchens, centred around ongoing sustainability.”
Across the 3 days, the events saw guest speakers, including Nick Vadis, culinary director at Compass Group and the chef ambassador to NHS Supply Chain; Phil Shelley, chair of NHS Food Review 2020; Emma Brookes, head of soft FM strategy and operations at NHS England; and Dr Rupy Aujla, an NHS GP who started ‘The Doctor’s Kitchen’, deliver engaging sessions. The delegates were also introduced to key industry mentors, each able to support the chefs to serve a quality menu to patients and visitors in their care settings.
Simon Gardiner, regional manager – south at Hobart UK’s Equipment Division commented: “We were delighted to welcome chefs from across our National Health Service to a dedicated mentoring event hosted by First Choice. At Hobart, we wanted to show our support to those in our industry who’ve worked tirelessly by providing an invaluable service to our nation. What better way to do this than to bring together a celebrated line-up of guest speakers and a group of well-respected mentors to give something back.”
Using First Choice Groups purpose-built event facilities, which include conference space, break-out rooms and a fully functioning professional kitchen, the event culminated with a light-hearted Ready, Steady ‘Plant Based’ cook-off to pit the delegates against one another, all in the name of competitive fun.
John Whitehouse, MD at First Choice Group, added: “It was a real honour to host the NHS Mentoring Event, in association with MKN and Hobart at First Choice. With everything our great health service has put up with over the past 18 months, to be able to give something back by way of a dedicated mentoring event, including some fantastic speakers and a fun cook-off competition was just a small way of us saying our thanks.”