Official Presentation Ceremony (Photograph: LACA)
School Meals Never Tasted So Good as Tanya Named School Chef of the Year
Tanya Watkin from Interserve's Eden Foodservice subsidiary voted Britain’s top school chef.
A school chef from Bedfordshire has impressed a national panel with her culinary expertise, earning her the accolade of School Chef of the Year 2014.
Tanya Watkin, who works for Eden Foodservice, part of Interserve, the international support services group, was voted Britain’s top school chef, at the national final of the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA), held recently in Hampshire.
The tough competition criteria really puts the preparation, cooking, creativity and presentation skills of school chefs 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 eleven year olds in school.
The winning dishes as created by Tanya were Spanish Chicken Cocido - Chicken, vegetable and chickpea stew flavoured with saffron served with chorizo tortilla and rustic bread. Followed by Crema de Sant Josep - Madeleine sponge baked in citrus caramel egg custard served with orange, strawberry and mint salsa.
Operating as a mobile manager for Eden under contract to Central Bedfordshire Council, Tanya prepares meals for up to 300 children aged four to 13 years old on a weekly basis.
Tanya said: “I was so proud to have won the national title. Although employees from Eden have previously reached the final stages of the competition, this is the first time anyone from our company has won the title.
“With the skill amongst this year’s finalists being so high, I felt it was an achievement in itself to compete with such a talented group of people. All of this just goes to prove what a good job school chefs do, day in, day out, up and down the country to provide tasty, nutritious meals for millions of children.”
Carrieanne Bishop, LACA National Chair, added: “My congratulations to Tanya Watkin. Her success in taking the national title is indeed a major achievement. LACA 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 help safeguard the health of the next generation.”
Eden Foodservice delivers catering at 733 primary and secondary schools throughout the UK. It is the first contract caterer to have received the Silver Food for Life Catering mark in all primary schools – an accreditation which highlights the promotion of healthy eating, the use of British produce and the sourcing of ethical and environmentally friendly food.
A joint event with Food for Life Catering Mark, to commend Eden's industry-leading application of the Silver Catering Mark across its entire primary school business, will be taking place on 25 July at Yeo Valley Family Farm. This occasion will bring together some of the most influential people in the school catering arena, not only to celebrate the award but also to network and discuss the changes that are taking place regarding school catering.
LACA School Chef of the Year Competition
The LACA School Chef of the Year Competition is the industry’s premier culinary event exclusively for those in the education catering sector. The competition aims to showcase high standards of skill, creativity and professionalism amongst school caterers, and is open to all kitchen based staff employed by organisations that are full members of LACA and are involved with the daily preparation of school meals.
Visit www.laca.co.uk for additional information.