A SOLIHULL school chef is among ten finalists shortlisted to compete for the title of School Chef of the Year.
Jose Davies Kochakkadan, chef at Marston Green Infants Academy, was named the West Midlands School Chef of the Year – and he will be aiming to top the accolade by becoming the national champion.
For the second year in a row Jose will be competing against Britain’s other regional top chefs in the final at Stratford Upon Avon College in March.
Jose said: “I would like to thank all my colleagues and family for their support and blessings for helping me to retain West Midlands School Chef of the Year for 2017 and put Solihull Catering Services on the map. Looking forward for the national final, I will definitely put my heart and soul into competing against the other finalists to achieve one of my goals.”
The competition, organised by the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA) is the flagship event for school chefs to showcase their professional skills.
The chefs’ preparation, cooking, creativity and presentation skills will be put to the test as they have a maximum of £1.30 to spend and just one and a half hours to prepare a main course and dessert that would appeal to 11-year-olds in school.
Beverley Elliott, Headteacher at Marston Green Infants Academy said: “This award helps to promote the fantastic food that is being created by school chefs and their expertise and dedication in preparing healthy meals that entice young palettes and cater for the diverse needs of children, as well as being sensitive to those children who have severe allergies.
“Winning Regional School Chef of the Year is a wonderful achievement for Jose but also for the Academy.
“As an educational establishment we are keen to promote a healthy lifestyle to our young children and their families and this award provides us with an opportunity to share Jose’s knowledge and skill to promote the importance of eating a good and well balanced meal.”
The nutritional content of contestants’ dishes must comply with the School Food Standards and take into account the Eat Well Guide 2016.
Councillor Ken Meeson, Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, said: “The LACA School Chef of the Year competition is a brilliant way of recognising the talent among school chefs and the hard work they put in to provide fresh, nutritious and tasty school meals for our children.
“Solihull’s Catering Service has a strong track record of providing high quality meals for children in Solihull and further afield, so we are very proud to have one of our team members shortlisted for this prestigious industry award.”