COOKING on a budget has earned a pair of Leighton Hospital chefs success on a plate in a national contest.
For just £1.50 a head, Peter Rorbach and Tom Warren-McCauley came up with a menu to make mouths water at the 2006 Le Salon Culinaire event in London.
They carried off a bronze award for their chicken breast served with a red pepper mousse, quenelles of carrot, sauteed spinach and potato rosti flavoured with celeriac and apple.
They had to cook for four but there was even cash left over for pudding, which was kiwi and honey brulee topped with warm blueberries.
Their effort earned them third place in the competition organised by the Hospital Catering Association.
Chefs from nine NHS regions entered into battle at London's Olympia on Thursday.
The HCA said the contest highlighted the skills of chefs working within the cash-strapped NHS to bring flavour and variety to patients.
A HCA spokesman said: 'With tight budgets,mealtimes spanning24hoursa day and varying dietary requirements, hospital catering is one of the most demanding in the industry.
'But hospital chefs have fewer opportunities than those in restaurants and hotels to demonstrate the talent they are capable of.
'The contest gave the creme de la creme of the industry a chance to shine.'
Leighton Hospital catering manager John Rimmer said: 'I was absolutely delighted with Peter and Tom's performance in the competition, particularly as this is was first time the hospital had entered.
'It just goes to prove what extremely talented chefs we have working for us within the Mid Cheshire Hospitals Trust.'