SCOTY Winner 2012

Alison Gann has been crowned School Chef of the Year 2012

Alison Gann from Chartwells has been voted Britain’s number one school chef by a panel of judges at the national final held at the Food Services Wing, Defence Logistics School, Worthy Down today (23 May).

Her winning dishes were Makhani chicken – Makhani chicken with jasmine infused rice, cucumber raita, chapatti flat bread and apricot chutney followed by a dessert of Kashmir pineapple pudding - this is a traditional dessert found in the Kashmir region. It consists of pineapple with a baked custard. She used Maggi Rich & Rustic Tomato Sauce in her main course and the Nestlé product she used in her dessert was Carnation Condensed Milk Light.

The winner of the Highly Commended main course prize was won by Mark Holmes from Metrofresh for his dish of Guests Chicken – chicken breast filled with mushroom, beetroot and baby spinach, served on a crisp potato rosti with sticky carrots, pea puree and café au lait tarragon sauce. He used Maggi demi glace, Maggi chicken bouillon and Nestlé product, Carnation Condensed Milk Light in his dish.

Karen Broom from Edwards & Ward scooped the Highly Commended dessert prize with her banana and caramel pudding - a hot banana and caramel sponge pudding with Cheerios  and a toffee sauce.  The Nestlé products she used in her dessert were Cheerios, Carnation Evaporated Milk Light and Carnation Caramel Sauce.

Meanwhile the Marketing Certificate of Merit was awarded to Emma Williams from Pembrokeshire County Caterers. This award is made to acknowledge the creativity and efforts put into the display tables produced by the finalists as a backdrop to their dishes. Service Counter Marketing is one of the eight judging criteria in the competition.  She won this category for her highly creative,  fun and inspiring Caribbean themed table display.

Each entrant was required to produce, in just one and a half hours, a healthy balanced two-course meal comprising a main course and dessert that would appeal to 11 year olds in school.  A maximum of £1.50 was allowed for the cost of a single meal (i.e. main course and dessert) for one child.  

Competition sponsor, Maggi at Nestlé Professional, included a selection of its products in the competition basket to help contestants’ enhance the creativity of their menus. The finalists were required to incorporate one of the Maggi products in their main course and any Nestlé product in their dessert.

The judging panel included: Justin Clarke, food development chef for Maggi at Nestlé Professional; wo1 Jon Gray, British Army Culinary Arts team, Food Services Wing, Defence Logistics School;  local authority catering professional Kathleen Jones, LACA; leading dietician Jasmine Challis, British Dietetic Association; 2011 School Chef of the Year Louise Witterick; and an 11 year old boy and girl Katy Davis and Charlie Black both from South Wonston Primary School.

Commenting on the culinary standard within the competition, LACA national chair Lynda Mitchell said:  “Through 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.”

Nestlé Professional's managing director Neil Stephens added his congratulations to Alison Gann: “School Chef of the Year is more than a competition.  It’s a showcase for the often unsung heroes who dedicate their working week to feeding our children and in many cases, are instrumental in improving diets and eating habits. Alison has demonstrated that nutrition, health and wellness can go hand-in-hand with tasty dishes that will appeal to the younger generation.  It is our responsibility as an industry to continue to support initiatives that play a significant role in helping safeguard the health of the next generation.”

On winning the national title of School Chef of the Year 2012, Gann said: "I was so proud to have won the national title.  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."

The competition is organised annually by LACA (Local Authority Caterers Association) and is sponsored by Maggi and Nestle Professional.

Click here to watch the SCOTY National final