Corinne Du Preez has been named LACA School Chef of the Year 2013.
Du Preez, who is employed by Caterlink, works at Kings Court First School in Old Windsor, Berkshire. 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 poached fillet of pollock with Arabic salad and tagine sauce served with coriander and garlic flatbreads followed by a dessert of Moroccan date and cinnamon cake.
"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," commented Du Preez, on winning the national title.
"I hope that this achievement will also serve to reassure parents everywhere about the high quality, balanced and tasty meals that are provided, not only in my school, Kings Court First School but across the length and breadth of the country."
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 Anne Bull 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."
The winner of the highly commended main course prize was Pamela Jamieson from Cumbrae Primary School, Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland, while Dalila Christopher from St Stephens Church of England Primary School, London Borough of Lewisham was the winner of the highly commended dessert prize. The marketing certificate of merit went to Isobel Gill, Mobile Primary Cook, Warwickshire County Caterers.