Nottinghamshire Hospice

Adding Life to Days

MasterChef Laurence treats patients to a taste of fine dining

Patients and guests at Nottinghamshire Hospice had a taste of fine dining this week when MasterChef Professionals champion Laurence Henry cooked up a treat in the hospice kitchen.

Chef Laurence, 26, gave up his time to create a three-course gourmet meal for 50 people at the hospice as a finale to the national ‘Taste of Home’ campaign.

Patients invited their partners or carers and other guests bought tickets with proceeds going to raise funds for the charity. Diners were served canapés and Prosecco on arrival followed by a Cornish brill with cured mussel veloute starter, pork XO, onion and apple main and tiramisu pudding.

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Patients and guests at the meal

Patient Tina Barnes, who is on oxygen 24/7 for a rare lung condition said: “It’s lovely food. It’s nice to have a top chef give up his time to do it.”

Among the guests was Graye Wilde, a former hospice nurse who was treated to the meal as a mother’s day present from her children. She said. “I don’t normally get to do the fine dining thing, so it was a really great experience. It was nice to have such a good mix of patients and guests all living it up together and enjoying Laurence’s delicious food.

“I used to work as a community nurse for the hospice 25 years ago so it’s good to see how it has come on. It really feels like a welcoming and caring place. All the staff did such a good job of making it look and feel special for the occasion.”

Laurence, one of the youngest ever winners in the BBC MasterChef series, sourced all the ingredients for free and set up his own fundraising page to raise money for the hospice.

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He said: “I wanted to support this great local charity which helps people across Nottinghamshire who have terminal illness. Being a local lad it’s only round the corner from where I live. I’ve driven past for years but didn’t know what went on here so I’ve learnt more about fantastic service they provide.”

Donations came from Beeston fishmonger and greengrocer Fred Hallam Ltd, Sherwood butcher Johnny Pusztai, Cotgrave fruit and veg supplier Kerry’s Fresh, and national wholesaler Wellocks. Weavers Wine Merchants also supported the event as did Capital One who provided a team of volunteers to act as serving staff.

Laurence also brought two friends with him to help, former Sat Bains sommelier Sunniva Workinn and Sam Burns. Hospice Chef Jaqueline Welsh and  kitchen assistant Cath Charles was also on hand to help, but took a step back to allow Laurence free reign in the kitchen.

Hospice chef Jaqueline works alongside Laurence
Hospice chef Jaqueline works alongside Laurence

Jo Polkey, Director of Care at Nottinghamshire Hospice said: “It was a fabulous experience for our patients and guests. It was wonderful of Laurence to give up his time to create such a special event for us.

“Here at the hospice we aim to help patients live life to the full in the time that they have left and to create memories with their loved ones. We’re so grateful to Laurence and all the others who supported this event.

“In its day the hospice building used to be one of the finest houses in Nottingham and I’m sure it would have played host to many a lavish dinner party so it was extra special to be able to recreate that legacy with our patients.”

The event rounds off a national ‘Open up Hospice Care’ campaign which ran throughout March to promotes the benefits of hospice care in people’s homes. As part of the campaign, supporters were urged to put on dinner parties in a ‘Taste of Home’ fundraiser.

Find out more about how to support Nottinghamshire Hospice through our Spring into Action campaign