The search for Britain's next LACA School Chef of the Year is underway with registration now open for the education catering industry's culinary competition.
School chefs nationwide are being invited to register to take part in the search for the 2019 national champion. Organised by the Lead Association for CAtering in Education (LACA) and sponsored by McDougalls, owned by Premier Foods, the competition is being launched at the LACA Main Event at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole 11-13 July.
Competitors' menus are expected to reflect the school food standards of the government's Universal Infant Free School Meals Programme.
Head of the 2019 judging panel is Mark Rigby, Premier Foods executive chef, who will oversee each stage of the new competition which includes a preliminary judging round later this year, each of the regional finals and the national final. Joining him on the panel will be former winner Sharon Armstrong and a catering industry professional guest judge at each location.
The reigning 2018 LACA School Chef of the Year, Michael Goulston (pictured) from Peartree Primary School, Hertfordshire who, in March 2018, became the first ever male school chef to win the national title in its 25-year history, will be showcasing his winning dishes at the LACA Main Event.
Entrants have 90 minutes to prepare, cook and serve an imaginative, school-compliant two-course menu including at least one different McDougalls product in each dish, suitable for serving en masse in schools to 11-year-old pupils.
The 2019 competition is open to all staff that hold a kitchen-based post and who are involved in the daily preparation of pupils' meals at the time of entry. Entries may be submitted by any school meal provider, whether local authority, contract caterer, academy or free school.
Registrations must be submitted by 29 September 2018. Submission of formal entries is required by 17 October 2018 with the first round of judging scheduled for later that month.
Successful candidates from this stage will go forward to participate in the 10 live regional finals which will be held in five different locations around Britain between November 2018 and January 2019. The national final takes place next March.
Regional final winners will each receive a £100 cash prize. The national winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize, invitations to a calendar of catering industry events and a work experience trip. The national second and third place winners will receive £500 and £300, respectively.
LACA chair of events Neil Porter said: "The new partnership with McDougalls has given us the opportunity to create an exciting new identity and structure for our industry's highest profile and longest running chef competition. We are certain that its easier, more up to date style will not only attract more competitors but will further increase the competition's prestige and very importantly for school chefs nationwide, the kudos from taking part."
Premier Foods channel marketing manager Sarah Robb added: "We are extremely proud to be sponsoring such a prestigious competition within the industry."
To register, visit www.laca.co.uk/scoty2019.