MASTERCHEFS rolled up their sleeves in a bid to prove school dinners are no longer to be sniffed at.
Stratford College hosted the national final of the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA) School Chef of the Year competition, which aims to showcase the quality of today’s school meals.
Against the clock and under the scrutiny of the judging panel, the 12 competitors prepared, cooked and presented a main course and a dessert suitable for serving to year six pupils and costing £1.30 per head.
Among them was Coventry chef Lee Taylor, who works at John Gulson Primary and who served up Bangladeshi style chickpea and spinach curry in a chapati boat followed by ‘kheer’ – an Indian style rice pudding – with a twist.
Unfortunately for Lee, his dish did not woo the judge’s tastebuds, which were won over instead by Liverpudlian Holly Charnock’s braised beef tortellini and chocolate and beetroot brownie.
Winner Holly said: “I am so proud to have won the national title. With the standard and skill level amongst this year’s finalists being so high, I felt it was an achievement in itself just getting through to the national final, let alone being able to compete with such a talented group of people.
“All of this just goes to prove what a good job school chef’s do, day in, day out, up and down the country in providing tasty, nutritious meals for millions of children.”
Raheem Morgan from London was second with his Mexican spiced chicken and Cheryl Humphries from South East England bagged third with her ‘Grandma’s chicken dinner’.