SCHOOL cooks went saucepan to saucepan in the School Chef of the Year final held at Stratford College.
Tanya Malone, who works for Warwickshire-based school catering company Educaterers and is site Catering manager at Rugby Free Secondary School, was among the 12 finalists.
The Leamington resident qualified after winning the West Midlands ‘School Chef of the Year for the second year running in the annual competition run by LACA (Lead Association for Catering in Education).
While Tanya was unable to repeat her success in the final she impressed the judges with her menu of Twist of Fish – crumble topped fish, sat on a bed of spaghetti potato and courgette with carrot puree, and a dessert Twist Pizza – sweet topped pizza, served with a wedge of lime jelly and mint.
The title, including a £1000 cash prize, went to Steven Cross from Hampshire with a menu which included a main of Rocking Moroccan Chicken – marinated chicken chargrilled and served with homemade Moroccan flatbread and roasted harissa vegetables garnished with mint yoghurt, nasturtium, chilli and mint – and a dessert of North African Rose – rosewater and cardamom cheese cake accompanied by blood orange, chocolate and mint.
Commenting on the outstanding professional standard of all of the 2019 national finalists, LACA national chair, Michael Hales said: “LACA School Chef of the Year is a snapshot of the passion and professionalism of today’s school chefs.
“Working at the frontline of school catering, all have first-hand experience of the challenges of feeding both children and young people.
“The competition also shows the commitment that is put into producing both high quality, nutritious food every day and with the imaginative ingredients, flavours and themes used for their dishes, school meals that have maximum appeal for discerning children and young people.”