Och aye! A County Durham care home has triumphed in a national competition to find the best Burns supper menu – thanks to its chef, who is a native Scot.

Kyle Long, who heads up the kitchen at Chilton Care Centre, in Chilton, has just heard he has won second place in a national competition for his mouth-watering offering to commemorate the birth of Scotland’s most famous poet.

“I’m very happy – although as a Scot I’m gutted I wasn’t first,” joked Mr Long, aged 37.

E Foods – a major on-line supplier to care homes, hotels and catering firms across the UK – awarded his menu, served up at Chilton Care Centre’s Burns Night at the end of January, the £50 runner-up prize.

It featured a starter of cullen skink – a soup made from smoked haddock poached in milk with potatoes and spring onion – followed by “haggis, neeps and tatties” fortified with Scotch whisky.

Next came chicken Balmoral – stuffed with haggis and wrapped in smoky bacon – complete with buttered baby vegetables and fondant potatoes.

Pudding was “clootie dumplings” – a suet based dish with sultanas, similar to a spotted Dick.

“I did put on an alternative of mince and dumplings for those who didn’t fancy haggis but most of the 36 residents eating that night tried the Scottish fare and loved it,” said Mr Long, who originally came from Inverkeithing in Fife.

“I’m pleased about that because of my Scottish roots.”

Mr Long has worked at Chilton Care Centre, which is run by St Philip’s Care, for about five years, after moving to the area with his wife, Jennifer. He leads a team of five kitchen staff, who serve meals for up to 40 people a day.

Home manager Linda Fitzgerald said: “We’re delighted to have won second place in this national competition and very proud of our chef, Kyle. We will spend the prize money on something in the kitchen for the benefit of our residents but haven’t yet decided what that will be.”

The purpose-built centre has 40 en suite bedrooms and organises regular activities for its residents, including the Burns Night that led to the prize.

Another St Philip’s Care home – Lennel House, near Coldstream in the Scottish borders – came third in the E Foods 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.”

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