Ten SCOTY Finalists Prepare to do Battle in Fiercely Contested Cook Off

With the regional finals over, the ten-strong lineup of school chefs who will contest the LACA School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) 2018 national final is now complete.

The final of the flagship event for school chefs takes place at Thursday 8 March at Stratford Upon Avon College in Warwickshire.

This year’s finalists are from the East Midlands (Beeston, Nottingham); East of England (Stevenage, Hertfordshire); London (Romford, Havering); North East & Scotland (Newcastle upon Tyne); North West (Warrington); South East (Carshalton, Surrey); South West (Gillingham, Dorset); Wales (Bridgend, Glamorgan); West Midlands (Southam, Warwickshire) and Yorkshire & Humber (Doncaster).

In addition to winning the national title and trophy, the champion will receive a £1000 cash prize, a commemorative plaque, a work experience trip and an invitation to a calendar of high profile catering industry engagements between 2018-2019.

The runner-up and third place finisher will receive a reward of £500 and £300 respectively.

All ten cooks will be looking to follow in the footsteps of last year’s victor, Tracy Healy, who will be one of the judges for this year’s cook off.

As was the competition’s format last year, each entrant has a maximum spend of £1.30 and just one and a half hours to prepare their dishes. The chefs are expected to produce a healthy balanced two-course meal comprising of a main course and dessert that would appeal to eleven year olds in school.

The nutritional content of contestants’ dishes must comply with the School Food Standards and take into account the Eat Well Guide 2016.  The Judges also want to see evidence of use of locally sourced ingredients and the use of sustainable products.

The key aim of the competition, is to show to parents the high quality of school meals today and the contribution they not only make to the health and wellbeing of their children but also their physical and educational attainment.

Joining Healy on the judging panel will be Justin Clarke, food development chef for MAGGI at Nestlé Professional,  an education catering professional (Jacqui Webb, LACA), a nutritionist (Beth Hooper, Nutrition Manager, Nestlé Professional), a professional chef (tbc) and an 11-year-old boy and girl from a Stratford upon Avon school.

“LACA School Chef of the Year is an excellent way of showing why all schools nationwide should be striving for a high quality school meals service,” said Tim Blowers, chair of LACA, the association which has run the competition for over two decades.

“It’s a snapshot of the passion and professional expertise of today’s school chefs and of the commitment and culinary skill they put into producing high quality meals tirelessly every single day in schools across the country”.

“School meals play a pivotal role in laying the foundations for children’s future eating habits and their long term health.  Not only do our front line chefs prepare tasty and imaginative dishes to tempt discerning taste buds but also nutritious meals that can make a major contribution towards altering eating habits and establishing balanced diets.

“Offering healthy choices in school and increasing awareness of dietary factors such as sugar intake and its impact on dental health, will not only help to establish healthier lifestyles and reduce obesity levels but also allow children and young people to achieve more both academically and physically.

“Every contestant who has taken part this year should be applauded and all should be recognised as inspirational role models for the food and beverage service in schools nationwide. My best wishes go to all ten of our 2018 National Finalists”.

Charlotte Ponti, savoury food manager, Nestlé Professional added: “It is really invigorating to see the passion, pride and creativity all the school chefs have shown during the competition this year. They have demonstrated their true dedication to the art of being a school chef to create nutritious meals. It is clear that the ten finalists selected are serious competitors and we wish them all the best for the 2018 National Final”.

SCOTY 2018 finalists-

East Midlands School Chef of the Year 2018

Donna Spiers, Alderman White Academy, Beeston, Nottingham (Nottinghamshire CC)

East of England School Chef of the Year 2018

Michael Goulston, Peartree Spring Primary School, Stevenage, Hertfordshire (HCL)

London School Chef of the Year 2018

Michelle Creed, Broadford Primary School, Romford (Havering Catering Services)

North East & Scotland School Chef of the Year 2018

Abdul Mahdoul, Walbottle Campus, Newcastle upon Tyne (Newcastle CC)

North West School Chef of the Year 2018

Justyna Rutkowska, Birchwood C of E Primary School, Warrington (Warrington BC School Meals)

South East School Chef of the Year 2018

Ouafa Bahloul, Bandon Hill Primary School, Carshalton, Surrey (Caterlink)

South West School Chef of the Year 2018

Tracey Ford, Gillingham Comprehensive School, Gillingham, Dorset (Caterlink)

Welsh School Chef of the Year 2018

Leanne Rees-Sheppard, Tremains Primary School, Bridgend, Glamorgan (Bridgend Catering Services)

West Midlands School Chef of the Year 2018

Tanya Malone, Southam Primary School, Southam, Warwickshire (Educaterers)

Yorks & Humber School Chef of the Year 2018

Amanda Phillips, Bentley High Street Primary School, Doncaster (Doncaster Schools Catering)


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