Twelve school chefs from across the UK have advanced to the LACA School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) National Final, which will take place across 7th & 8th July, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.
The school chefs will have one hour and 45 minutes to prepare and serve a grab & go savoury snack in addition to a delicious and imaginative main meal, and dessert.
Each contestant must use at least one Quorn product in both the new grab & go item and main course and one Bisto product from a list provided in either the snack or the main course, alongside a 50% fruit-based dessert that should reflect school standards, using one Premier Foods product from a list provided.
Now in its 28th year SCOTY is the education catering sector’s ‘premier’ culinary skills competition. The SCOTY champion will receive a £1,000 cash prize, the 2022 LACA School Chef of the Year trophy and an invitation to a calendar of catering industry events. The national second and third place winners will receive £500 and £300 respectively.
Making this year’s lineup are the nine regional winners:
• Tasha Watts, employed at the Crispin Academy, Street (South West winner)
• Wendy Lohse, employed by Chartwells and is based at Saltfleet Primary School, Isle of Wight (South East winner)
• Jackie Sweeney, employed by the Vertas Group and is based at Hewett Academy, Norwich (East of England winner)
• Tom Armstrong, employed by Mellors catering Services, and is based at Shelley College, Huddersfield (Yorkshire & Humber winner)
• Victoria Clair, employed by Stockton Borough Council, and is based at Crooksbarn Primary School, Norton (North East & Scotland winner)
• Clair Edwards, employed by Caerphilly County Borough Council and is based at Rhiw Syr Dafydd Primary School, Oakdale (Wales winner)
• Rose Simpson, employed by Lancashire County Council and is based at Morecambe Bay Community Primary School, Morecombe (North West winner)
• Lee Taylor, employed by Academy and is based at John Gulson Primary School, Coventry (West Midlands winner)
• Raheem Morgan, employed by Chartwells Lewisham and is based at Torridon Primary School (London winner).
Joining the nine regional winners are three ‘wildcard entries’ who were selected by the LACA SCOTY judges. The ‘wild card’ entries have an equal opportunity of winning the title of School Chef of the Year. Both Raheem Morgan and Wendy Lohse have been wild card entries in the past.
This year’s ‘wild card’ entries are:
• Terry Howard, employed by Radish All Good and is based at Monega Primary School, Forest Gate, London
• Arkadiusz Aoun Kosiacki employed by Impact Food Group at the Bilingual Primary School, Hove and
• James Brown from Queen Ethelbuga’s College , York
LACA national chair, Jacquie Blake said: “Each year I am amazed at the talent and creativity of the entries we receive. There can be no better calling than to ensure that children receive delicious, nutritious meals whilst they are at school. The link between healthy eating and learning has been well proven and our chefs up and down the country provide a valuable service to their local communities.”
LACA’s Chair of Events Group and Business Director, Neil Porter said: “The LACA School Chef of the Year has to be one of the most exciting competitions across the hospitality calendar. The creativity we experience is outstanding, and one of the things I like most is the involvement of the pupils, who often are seen to have influenced the menu and even helped grown the produce that is used on the day.
Quorn’s Kate Snow said: “We're passionate about inspiring future generations to establish sustainable eating habits so it makes us really happy to see the innovation coming through in competitors' dishes.”
Sarah Robb, foodservice marketing manager at Premier Foods said: “We have supported school chefs across the UK for many years and so have seen first-hand the hard work and dedication they put in. It’s great to have competitions like LACA School Chef of the Year to shine a light on this important sector. The dishes we’ve seen served up have not only been beautifully presented but they tasted delicious and showed real innovation and creativity.”
The SCOTY National Final will take place on 7th & 8th July followed by the winner’s presentation dinner that evening.