The Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA) has announced the 10 finalists that will go on to compete for its National School Chef of the Year 2014 award.
The annual event, sponsored by Maggi from Nestlé Professional, aims to showcase the quality of the meals being prepared in schools, highlight the importance of good nutrition among schoolchildren, and show what a high quality meals service in schools might achieve.
All the finalists are winners from the regional heats, which finished on 18 March. The successful regions include the East Midlands; Eastern; London; North East & Scotland; North West; South East; South West; Wales; West Midlands; and Yorkshire & Humber.
The finalists will now continue on to compete in the final, which will take place at the Defence Logistics School near Hampshire.
The judging panel will include Justin Clarke, food development chef for Maggi; education catering professional Jacqui Webb from LACA, dietician Jasmine Challis from the British Dietetic Association, the 2013 LACA School Chef of the Year, Corinne Du Preez, a professional chef judge, and an 11 year old boy and girl from a Hampshire school.
To get to this stage of the competition, each contestant was been asked to prepare a healthy, two-course meal in 90 minutes, with a main and dessert that will appeal to schoolchildren, and cost just £1.60 per meal.
Each of the contestants was also required to use two products from a selection of Maggi items, and participants were also expected to reflect the ethnic and cultural mix of students in a given UK school.
Dishes submitted included spiced beef kebabs with fragrant coconut rice; Indonesian-style fish with jewelled rice, and sesame seed turkey bites with sweet & sour sauce, while desserts included apple & cinnamon samosas; a tropical fruit trio; and a coconut sponge with pineapple panna cotta & warm mango sauce.
Chair of judges and food development chef at Nestlé Professional, Justin Clarke, said: "I love judging this competition and look forward to it, because every contestant really wants to win.
"There's no doubt that the culinary standard of food, creativity and technical ability has far more imagination than ever before, with many dishes of global influence hitting food trends."
FULL LIST OF 2014 NATIONAL FINALS
East Midlands School Chef of the Year 2014
Gail Boyce, Bolsover C of E Junior School, Bolsover, Derbyshire County Council
Eastern School Chef of the Year 2014
Tanya Watkin, Woodland Middle Academy School, Flitwick, Bedfordshire, Bedfordshire County Council
London School Chef of the Year 2014
Shereene Weston, St Mary Magdelen Catholic Primary School, Lewisham, the London Borough of Lewisham
North East & Scotland School Chef of the Year 2014
Bridget McCulla, Jarrow School, Tyne & Wear, South Tyneside Council
North West School Chef of the Year 2014
Debbie Sidlow, Meadowbank Primary School, Manchester, Manchester City Council
South East School Chef of the Year 2014
Alison Dombrick, Bentley Primary School, Bentley, Hampshire, Hampshire County Council Catering Services
South West School Chef of the Year 2014
Jodie Pearce, Wembury Primary School, Plymouth, Devon Norse
Welsh School Chef of the Year 2014 Kate Davies, St Gwladys Primary School, Bargoed, Caerphilly County Borough Council
West Midlands School Chef of the Year 2014
Vicky Brammer, Crescent Academy, Stoke on Trent, Stoke on Trent Council
Yorkshire & Humber School Chef of the Year 2014
Katherine Breckon, Westcliffe CP School, Whitby, North Yorkshire County Council