The days of corned beef hash and bread and butter pudding seemed a long way off yesterday as seven of Yorkshire’s best school cooks served up prawn croquettes, pulled chicken tostados and pork and Parmesan ravioli in their bid for a place in the final of a national competition.
Under the clock and the scrutiny of a panel of judges at Doncaster College, the contestants in the regional heat of the annual School Chef of the Year contest had to prepare two-course meals suitable for an 11-year-old, on a budget of just £1.30 per pupil.
Matt Betts, of the Mill Academy in Worsbrough Bridge, Barnsley, was judged the winner, with a menu of battered mackerel tacos with rice, followed by strawberry supermousse. The runner-up was James Brown from the independent Queen Ethelburga’s School at York, who served Easingwold pork buns with lime and chilli dip, and cucumber, lime and lemon cheesecake for dessert.
A spokesman for the organisers, the Lead Association for Catering in Education, said: “The £1.30 limit reflects the budgets that school chefs typically have to work with.”