Premier Foods schools baking competition returns with new rewards

Premier Foods is bringing back its McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition for the fourth year running, with more prizes than ever before. New for 2018, schools will have more opportunity to win kitchen equipment as everyone shortlisted to take part in the live final, at LACA - The Main Event, will be rewarded.

Schools looking to bake their way to the top spot should recruit a team of up to three enthusiastic 7-11 year olds and register online, when entry opens on Tuesday, 2nd January. This year the winning team will take home the jackpot of £1,000 worth of equipment for their school kitchen, whilst the four runners up will win £250 worth of equipment for the first time.

The competition theme will continue to focus on local produce, encouraging schools to source local ingredients for their McDougalls recipes - helping pupils learn more about where their food comes from.

Mark Taylor, Customer Controller at Premier Foods, comments: 'It is really important to us that the McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition helps develop children's cooking skills, in addition to educating them on where ingredients come from. Last year it was revealed that 41% of children didn't know that eggs come from chickens1, so we're proud to run an initiative that can help rectify this knowledge gap. Our McDougalls range of flour based mixes offer an easy to use base for a range of sweet and savoury dishes, so schools can really get their creative juices flowing to make their dish stand out to our panel of judges.'

Supported by key industry associations, the competition sees the judges - Carol Harwood, representing LACA; Andrew Green, representing the Craft Guild of Chefs; and Mark Rigby, Executive Chef at Premier Foods - whittle down the entries and invite five shortlisted teams to the live final.

Sarah Middlemiss, School Chef at Chapter House Preparatory School, 2017 winner, comments: 'We were delighted to be crowned the champions of the 2017 competition. Our recipe was inspired by our school tradition of serving meringues with berries for our school birthday celebrations, and also by our delicious home grown strawberries from the school's very own vegetable garden. The experience has been invaluable for the children and I would encourage everyone to take part. The children have not only learnt new cooking and teamwork skills, but they have had fun in the process. Good luck to all the 2018 entrants!'

Schools up for the baking challenge can register their interest at www.premierfoodservice.co.uk and will receive a McDougalls toolkit within seven days which will include product samples, an application form and recipe inspiration. Teams will be asked to create either a sweet or savoury recipe, which includes one local ingredient2 and one McDougalls Flour Based Mix for submission.

Ingredients must be sourced from within a 30 mile radius of the school's address and can include fruit and vegetables grown, or locally made produce such as cheese or eggs.