Shaping the Future of Healthcare Menus – Chef’s Academy

Foodbuy was awarded the contract to supply food as part of at NHS Supply Chain in 2018. The Chef’s Academy concept was launched by our NHS Supply Chain: Food team after identifying a gap in training and resources for NHS Chefs.

The Chef’s Academy

The Chef’s Academy is designed to inspire innovation and professional development amongst NHS chefs and catering staff, with the goal of improving patient experience in hospitals. The programme invites NHS hospital chefs across the UK to free training days with live demonstrations, hands-on cooking, and talks from nutritional experts.

In October 2020, the first NHS Supply Chain Chef’s Academy event was held in Bristol. Six NHS chefs attended the inaugural, socially distanced training session. Each chef received bespoke training from NHS Supply Chain’s in-house chefs, Nick Vadis and Stephen England. Following its success, 10 more events were rolled out across England.

The first round of Chef’s Academies saw Nick and Steve host 11 events in total, teaching 94 NHS chefs invaluable craft skills and innovative recipe ideas.

Attendees learned about culinary skills as well as nutritious, tasty and cost-effective new recipe concepts, developed by the NHS Supply Chain team specifically for the NHS, with the intention of providing greater choice of quality food in NHS hospitals. Chefs were also encouraged to experiment with new products for a range of dietary requirements, swap recipes, and cook plant-based dishes and healthy grab-and-go options.

Key highlights of the Chef Academy:

  • Our hosts provided live demonstrations of the dishes.
  • Group cooking sessions with one-to-one support teaching culinary skills through hands-on cooking.
  • Presentation from our dietetics and nutrition team.
  • The Chef’s Academy events are run by our in-house culinary team and are free to attend for any NHS chef.
  • Our team inspire attendees by sharing new recipes and analysis (including a look at cost and time efficiency).
  • The event provides the opportunity to share best practice by meeting other NHS chefs, and external chefs too.
  • This initiative supports the development of naturally more innovative kitchens and an improved food offer for NHS hospital staff, visitors and patients.

Phillip Shelley, chairman of the ‘Independent Review of NHS Hospital Food 2020 said:

“The Chef’s Academy Programme has given much needed support in our industry in such challenging times. Shaping the future of healthcare menus is an essential aim of the NHS Food Review 2020, the academy model encourages attendees to feel at ease while Nick and Steve lead with a calm authority that increases the potential for positive change – I’m looking forward to future sessions.”

Nick Vadis, culinary specialist in the NHS Supply Chain: Food team and leading on the Chef’s Academies said:

“I’m passionate about food and want to support the growth of the NHS trusts that we work with. If we can increase our support for the culinary teams in hospitals around the country, then we can also create better environments for staff and visitors as well. Food is medicine, after all.”

To learn more about our team at NHS Supply Chain: Food, visit