For a second consecutive year, spares specialist First Choice Group partnered with cooking equipment manufacturer MKN to host regional heats of the LACA School Chef of the Year 2022 (SCOTY) competition.
LACA SCOTY celebrates and recognises the passion and professionalism of school chefs from across the country. Held for more than two decades, the competition is open to all kitchen-based individuals who are involved in the daily preparation of pupils’ meals in schools across the UK.
The Wales, West Midlands and East Midlands regions used the dedicated First Choice Group facilities in Cannock for the heats yesterday (19 May).
Using the restaurant and MKN kitchen at First Choice Group’s HQ in Cannock, the competitors had access to the latest professional catering equipment, including the technology found in MKN’s Flexichef and combi-steamer range.
The winners for each region were Clair Edwards from Rhiw Syr Dafydd primary school in Caerphilly for the Wales Region, Lee Taylor from John Gulson Primary School, Coventry, for the West Midlands and Morecambe Bay Community Primary School’s Rose Simpson representing the North West.
New for 2022, competitors were tasked with creating a grab-and-go savoury snack in addition to an imaginative main meal, using at least one Quorn product (headline sponsor), in both dishes, and one Bisto (supporting sponsor) product from a list provided in either meal. This was alongside a 50% fruit-based dessert that should reflect school standards, using one Premier Foods product from a list provided.
First Choice Group believes its dedicated setup of conference and event facilities are ideal for hosting the LACA SCOTY regional heats, as Martin Dagnall, head of training division at First Choice Training, the specialist training arm of First Choice Group explained: “Having hosted the North West regional heats in 2021, we’re delighted to be chosen to host the Wales, West Midland and East Midlands regional heats for the LACA SCOTY 2022 competition.
“Those catering for pupils in the education sector are the true unsung heroes of our industry, so being able to do our bit to support them, in partnership with the team from MKN, is fantastic. From our experience in 2021, we know that the creativity and imagination of these chefs, especially given the low cost per head imposed on their menus, is fantastic.”
The heat winners received a £100 cash prize and will go on to compete at the national final from the 6-7 July 2022 at LACA Main Event, Hilton Birmingham Metropole. The overall national winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize, a commemorative 2022 LACA School Chef of the Year trophy and an invitation to a calendar of catering industry events. The national second and third place winners will receive £500 and £300 respectively.