Chef Les Duffield

Veteran chef Les Duffield has rustled up a prize for the Coldstream care home where he works, thanks to traditional Scottish recipes he has perfected over 50 years in catering.

The 72-year-old Coldstream grandfather has just learned that his home, Lennel House Care Centre, has won third place in a UK-wide competition for the best Burns Night menu.

Mr Duffield has been in catering since the age of 16, when he joined the merchant navy, feeding hungry sailors as they voyaged all over the world.

After 23 years in the navy, he spent another 27 years catering in the oil and gas industry.

“I tried retiring – but after 18 months I couldn’t stand it and applied for the job as chef at Lennel House, where I am very happy,” said Mr Duffield.

“Our Burns Night was a great success and our 30 residents loved the menu, which was all home-cooked from scratch with my own recipes, which I have worked up over the years.

“On the night, I followed the piper in holding the haggis high – it was all very traditional.”

The menu – under the witty heading “Thistle Be Good” – included a starter of cock-a-leekie soup, followed by “haggis wi’ bashit neeps an’ champit tatties and the dessert of “typsy laird and a wee dram”.

E Foods – a major online supplier to care homes, hotels and catering firms across the UK – awarded Lennel House the £50 third-place prize, which will go towards a special afternoon tea for the residents.

Lennel House, which cares for people with nursing and dementia needs, dates back to the early 19th century and is set in 11 acres of gardens in Lennel Road. The home is part of the St Philips Care group.

Another St Philip’s Care home – Chilton Care Centre in County Durham – came second in the same competition.

Pat Cooper, St Philips Care’s group’s food and budgeting manager, said: “Seven of our homes took part in the competition and we are rightly proud that two of them have won prizes.”Les Duffield at work in the kitchen

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