Richard Kirton and Ian Cannon from North Tees Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust fought off competition from seven other hospital chef teams to take home the accolade.

A pair of hospital caterers scooped Silver Best in Class in the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) Hot Cookery Competition at Hotelympia.

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 in the coveted Salon Culinaire competition.

The pair 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.

Ian Cannon said: “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.”

HCA 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.”