Meat Free Menus For School Chef Competition 2021

With the regional finals now nearing completion, the line up of school chefs who will compete for the much coveted national title of the LACA School Chef of the Year 2021, is taking shape.  North East & Scotland School Chef of the Year 2021 – Karen Bevan, Stromness Primary School, Stromness, Orkney (Stromness Primary School) will be representing Scotland at the finals.

The 2021 national final which takes place between 12-13 October at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole is expected to be a fiercely fought cook off.  

Organised by 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.    

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.  The winner 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.

All participants in the LACA School Chef of the Year Competition have a maximum of £1.40 to spend and 90 minutes to prepare, cook and serve an imaginative two course meal suitable for serving en masse in primary and secondary schools.

With the inspiration for their ingredients, flavours and themes drawn from home and abroad, the contestants’ delicious main courses and desserts are destined to seriously challenge the taste buds of the judges at the national final. 

Head of the School Chef of the Year 2021 Judging Panel is Kate Snow, Senior Home Economist, Quorn Foods.  Joining Kate on the panel at the 2021 national final will be an independent catering industry professional guest chef (Stuart Brereton, MKN UK), an education catering expert (Sharon Armstrong, LACA) and the reigning LACA School Chef of the Year 2020, Holly Charnock from Formby, Liverpool.

Commenting on the forthcoming 2021 national final, LACA National Chair, Stephen Forster said:

“Over the 20 years since this competition began, it has evolved to reflect both school food standards and food trends.  Our partnership this year with Quorn reflects the current shift to reduce the amount of meat in our diet which is also emerging as a major feature of school menus.

“As children and young people become more environment and healthier eating aware, they are demanding more meat-free choices on their school menus. Our link with Quorn has allowed our amazing school chefs to respond to this trend whilst showing off their culinary expertise.  The National Finalists range of dishes exemplify their creativity, skills and commitment. It’s going to be an exciting National Final.  Good luck to all competitors”.

Phil Thornborrow, Foodservice Director at Quorn Professionals said:

“Meat free is high on the agenda at the moment and we, at Quorn, have been trailblazing its development for over 40 years.  The education sector in particular is embracing a more flexible approach to meat consumption, driven by rising concerns over childhood obesity and younger generations leading the fight against climate change. 

“We want to inspire future generations to eat healthily and establish sustainable eating habits by educating them on how their food choices can be both good for their health and the planet.  We have been thrilled to see the amazing creativity of school chefs using Quorn throughout this year’s competition and offer all the 2021 national finalists our best wishes for an exciting finale”.

List of the Finalists

East Midlands School Chef of the Year 2021 – Matthew Bennett, Sponne School, Towcester, Northamptonshire (Impact Food Group)

East of England School Chef of the Year 2021 – Rob Chambers, Hampton College, Peterborough, Lincolnshire (IFG Cucina)

London School Chef of the Year 2021 – Raheem Morgan, Torridon Primary School, Lewisham, S E London (Chartwells Lewisham)

North East & Scotland School Chef of the Year 2021 – Karen Bevan, Stromness Primary School, Stromness, Orkney (Stromness Primary School)

North West School Chef of the Year 2021 – Claire Malcolm, Mossfield Primary School, Swinton (Salford City Council)

South West School Chef of the Year 2021 – Rob Finch, Budworth Academy, Weymouth, Dorset (IFG Cucina)

West Midlands School Chef of the Year 2021 – Lee Taylor, John Gulson Primary School, Coventry, Warwickshire (Academy – part of Atalian Servest)

Yorks & Humber School Chef of the Year 2021 – Becky Crossley, York High School, York (North Yorkshire County Council)

South East School Chef of the Year 2021 (tba)(Regional Final scheduled for 16 September)

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