College sets its sights on Chef of the Year

A SCHOOL chef from Claverham Community College in Battle will be joining nine others from across the UK to compete for the title of LACA’s School Chef of the Year 2012.

Alison Gann, who is employed by Chartwells, will take part in what is expected to be a fiercely fought cook off at the Defence Foodservices School, Worthy Down near Winchester, Hampshire, on Wednesday May 23.

The finalists, who come from across England, Wales and Scotland, will battle it out for the school catering industry’s top award.

This annual competition, organised by the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) puts the finalists preparation, cooking, creativity and presentation skills to the test.

Each entrant is required to produce, in just one-and-a-half hours, a healthy balanced two-course meal comprising of a main course and dessert that would appeal to 11-year-olds in school.

A maximum of £1.50 is allowed for the cost of a single meal (main course and dessert) for one child.

Alison is hoping to impress the judges with her Makhani Chicken and Kashmir Pineapple Pudding.

Chair of the judging panel is Justin Clarke, food development chef for MAGGI at Nestlé Professional, which is sponsoring the competition.

Also on the judging panel is a professional local chef, a local authority catering professional, a leading dietician, the 2011 School Chef of the Year and an 11-year-old boy and girl from a local Hampshire school.

Lynda Mitchell, LACA chair said: “LACA’s School Chef of the Year continues to represent a highly positive way of communicating the benefits of supporting a high quality school meals service in order to combat obesity and help safeguard the health of the next generation.

“The School Chef of the Year judging criteria are tough but the skills and standards demonstrated by all the participants across the country, send a clear message to all of our customers - from headteachers and governors to parents and young people.

“And that is, our talented front line staff in schools not only prepare tasty, highly creative dishes to tempt the taste buds of discerning children and young people but also nutritious school meals that can make a major contribution towards altering eating habits, improving diets and decreasing obesity levels.”