The title of Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA) School Chef of the Year, sponsored by Maggi©, is the most prestigious that any School Chef across the UK can hold; and an exciting year is guaranteed for whoever emerges as the 2017 winner.
There are six finalists competing for the North-West title, and Stockport based school meals provider, Solutions SK are incredibly excited to confirm our very own Kim Edgar, the Cook in Charge at St Philips Primary School, is one of them.
There are several stages to the competition and below is a brief summary into what Solutions SK’s, Kim Edgar, has already and is due to undertake:
After registering on the website, Kim will have competed with other contestants to submit photographs of dishes she has served (main courses and desserts) suitable for Year 6 pupils.
To highlight consideration for healthy ingredients, as well as issues such as sugar and salt content, ingredients must accompany the photographs and all meal samples submitted must not cost more than £1.30 per head.
To further test the competitors, the panel who manage the first stage submissions, also asked for 150 words to explain the following about the proposed meal:
- What inspired you to create the dishes?
- The reasoning behind the product application of Maggi or Nestlé products
- What changes to the ingredients, method or skills would need to be made when the menu is produced all together?
- Where sustainable products have been used
- Where locally sourced ingredients have been used.
Once all entries were in, the Judges reviewed the submissions, and six were selected for the North West Regional Finals.
At the Regional Finals, each Chef will be asked to produce four portions of both the main course and dessert, suitable for Year Six pupils. They will be given 90 minutes to prepare, cook and present the food ready for judging. Justin Clarke, Food Development Chef for Maggi at Nestlé Professional, will be the Chair of the judging panel for the Regional Finals and the National Final. He will be joined by a local professional Chef, Jacqui Webb at LACA, and two Year 6 students from a local school.
The Judges will mark each finalist on the following criteria:
- Creative use of Maggi and Nestlé products
- Working practices
- Flavours/taste and texture/appearance/aroma
- Ability to replicate recipe
Head of School Meals and Facilities at Solutions SK, Sharon Alldread, say of the forthcoming event:
We are so excited for Kim. This is a great achievement for the team and to be able to show the schools of Stockport that we are one of the best in the North West.
Kim Edgar is incredibly popular with all of those she meets. Always smiling and full of positivity.
It’s no surprise, this Cook in Charge is going for gold.
Being part of the Solutions SK School Meals team since 2004, she’s understandably incredibly excited and ‘over the moon’ about the finals.
When I first entered the competition, I had just returned to work after being off poorly. Lisa Tottle approached me and asked if I’d be interested in entering the competition. It was such an exciting opportunity and I felt ready for the challenge.
Kim explains what inspired her meal submission ideas for the competition:
Cooking has always been a mad passion of mine. I love it – I cook for everybody. I found my inspiration from another project I was working on. I was setting up a cookery class at St Philips (the school I’m cook at) and I had to come up with a meal that the children could make and take home. I decided chicken wrapped in pasta would be a good option. It’s easy to prepare and has lots of goodness in it.
The children were taking it home and the reviews came back with a big thumbs up. They all said it was absolutely gorgeous and they loved it. For pudding it was of course, the classic chocolate brownie but with a twist – instead of chocolate, we used nestle cocoa powder. With all good school cooking, it’s about finding something that’s nutritionally acceptable but in a really nice yummy way. And I’m pleased to say, I think my menu fits the bill.
As the countdown is on for the big cook-off , Kim has been preparing:
I’ve been practising like mad on my family, the next-door neighbours, my best friend and her family and I’ve even started doing it at school as well. Thankfully every time I practice everyone enjoys it for their tea.
Solutions SK wish Kim and the other contestants all the very best of luck.