Alison Gann has been named School Chef of the Year 2012.
Gann, who is employed by Compass Group's education business, Chartwells, works at Claverham Secondary School, Battle, East Sussex. She was voted Britain's top school chef by a panel of judges at the national final held at the Food Services Wing, Defence Logistics School, Worthy Down, Hampshire, yesterday.
Her winning entry was a main course of Makhani Chicken with jasmine-infused rice, cucumber raita, chapatti flatbreads and apricot chutney followed by a dessert of Kashmir pineapple pudding.
On winning the national title, Gann said: "With the standard in the competition being so exceptionally high, I felt it was an achievement in itself to compete with such a talented group of people. All of this just goes to prove what a good job school chefs do, day in, day out, up and down the country to provide tasty, nutritious meals for millions of children."
Mark Holmes from Abraham Guest Academy, Wigan, was the winner of the highly commended main course prize for his Guests Chicken dish, while the winner of the highly commended dessert was Karen Broom from Eckington Secondary School, Sheffield, for her banana and caramel pudding.
Emma Williams from Sir Thomas Picton Secondary School, Haverfordwest, won the Marketing Certificate of Merit for her Caribbean-themed table display. This award was introduced two years ago to acknowledge the creativity and efforts put into the display tables produced by the finalists as a backdrop to their dishes.
The competition is organised annually by the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) and is sponsored by Maggi from Nestlé Professional.
Commenting on the culinary standard within the competition, LACA national chair Lynda Mitchell said: Through the LACA School Chef of the Year competition, we can send a clear message to head teachers and governors of all schools, as well as to parents and young people, about how important it is for all schools to adhere to one set of nutritional standards for food provision.
"Our talented front-line staff need their continued support in order to ensure high-quality, nutritious school meals as well as tasty, highly creative and appealing dishes. These meals can make a major contribution towards altering eating habits, changing diets and decreasing obesity levels, which in turn, research has shown, will help children and young people to improve their academic and physical performance."
Alison Gann's main course of Makhani Chicken with jasmine-infused rice, cucumber raita, chapatti flatbreads and apricot chutney
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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