Stromness Primary’s Karen Bevan has cooked her way through to the national final of the School Chef of the Year competition.
Karen, the chosen North East and Scotland contestant, joined the morning regional heat in a virtual cook-along on 10 June winning her way to the final, which will be held over 12-13 October in Birmingham.
Karen won over the judges with her Taiwanese-style steamed bun with sticky Quorn pieces and crunchy vegetables for her main and for dessert she made a filo pastry spring roll case filled with a light raspberry cream cheese filling. She is giving it an Orcadian twist, using beremeal for example.
Organised by the LACA – The School Food People and sponsored by Quorn Professionals, School Chef of the Year is the education catering sector's premier culinary skills competition and school chefs from all over Britain registered to take part in the 2021 competition.
Seven live regional finals are taking place across the country between June and September 2021. The first placed winners from these heats will compete as their region’s champion at the 2021 national final.
Competitors were tasked with creating a main meal, using at least one Quorn product, alongside a 50 per cent fruit-based dessert that should reflect the school food standards. Entrants had 1 hour and 15 minutes to prepare, cook and serve a school compliant two-course menu that is suitable for 11-year-old pupils in primary year 6 or secondary year 7 at a cost of no more than £1.40 per main and dessert portions.
In addition to the kudos of winning the national title, the 2021 champion will receive a £1000 cash prize and the LACA 2021 School Chef of the Year trophy. They will also be awarded a work experience trip and an invitation to a calendar of high-profile catering industry engagements. The national second and third place winners will receive cash prizes of £500 and £300 respectively.
OIC Schools Catering Manager, Scott Pring, said: “We are delighted, although not surprised, that Karen has secured her place in the final. We were confident that her two course entry was very strong, and this has been confirmed by the judges in selecting Karen to move forward. The school bairns that Karen serves up her food to daily have given her their firm seal of approval – stating that her food is ‘the best’ and ‘out of this world’….let’s hope the judges agree at the final!”
Karen will take her place at the final competition later in the year and while nerve wracking, she is always up for a challenge!
“I am really chuffed to get this far and will give it my all on competition day – I already feel like a winner with the support given to me by the bairns at the school and the wider community, which has been lovely.”