Plymouth chef battles it out in a South West School Chef of the Year competition
THREE chefs have battled it out in a cook-off to be crowned a South West School Chef of the Year.
Natasha Wilkes, from Victoria Road Primary School in St Budeaux, went up against two other chefs from the region for the Local Authority Caterers Association South West School Chef of the Year title.
Natasha battled it out against Steve Spofford from Worle Community College in North Somerset and Gemma Hall from Sir Robert Geoffrey's Church of England Primary in Cornwall for the top spot.
Natasha achieved the highly commended dessert award, but did not win overall.
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Steve Spofford was the overall winner and Gemma Hall achieved the highly commended main.
The finalist menus included main courses entitled Moroccan inspired chicken served with lemon and coriander cous cous and spicy fruit bread and smoky chicken served with tagliatelle mixed with ribbons of vegetables. Desserts ranged from caramelised ginger peaches with natural yoghurt, caramel and honeycomb to Somerset apple tart with vanilla ice cream.
Councillor Nicky Williams, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "I'd like to thank Natasha for representing us once again in the South West regional heat of School Chef of the Year.
"Her menu sounded absolutely delicious and it just goes to show what wonders can be achieved with good ingredients, imagination and talent.
"The standard of meals throughout schools in the city is extremely high and school meal take up has increased as a result.
"Our education catering Service is award-winning having achieved the Gold Soil Association Catering Mark, the Good Egg Award and they were runners up for Education Caterer of the Year this year.
"Our staff continue to strive to provide excellent quality food that is appetising and nutritious for children and young people in Plymouth by sourcing local produce and developing recipes and menus that are full of fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. That's not only good for our children, it's good for the local economy too."
School Chef of the Year is exclusively for those in the education catering sector.
The competition aims to showcase the high standards of skill, creativity and professionalism amongst school caterers.
It is open to all kitchen based staff employed by organisations that are full members of the Local Authority Caterers Association and are involved with the daily preparation of school meals.
Steve Spofford will go on to take part in the 2013 National Final scheduled for May 2013.