Skip to main content


SCOTY Round-up: two school chefs reach national final

09 May 2022
The second week of this year’s SCOTY competition saw the judges travelling across from Slough to Peterborough with the South East and East of England heats.

The first winner was Wendy Lohse, who had an early start for her South East competition, having to catch one of the first of the morning’s ferries across to the mainland from the Isle of Wight before heading up to Bidfood’s HQ.

Wendy, from Chartwell’s Shalfleet C of E Primary School, is no stranger to the SCOTY finals having now made the grade three times in the past four years. This time her inspiration was another island – Bali. An island of friendly people whose cuisine reflects a culture where meat is not the main focus of the meal. Balinese dishes use fresh flavourful ingredients that explode with layers of sensations.

Chair of judges, Quorn’s Kate Snow said: “It’s a very exciting competition this year. As well as the main course and dessert, we have introduced a ‘grab and go’ offer. It is exciting to see the innovation and creativity amongst the chefs and the Quorn dishes they produce.”

For the ‘grab and go’ round Wendy created quick Quorn cakes, lightly fried Quorn ‘fishless’ cakes served with cucumber relish and a spicy mayonnaise. She then created Balinese Quorn satay with yellow rice and green beans - minced Quorn satay with lemongrass and turmeric rice, coconut green beans and fresh sambal.

Here, Wendy used both Quorn fillets and mince, showcasing the versatility of the product before explaining where the inspiration for her final course came from: “My dessert also brought the island flavours with some childhood fun.” It was chewy gooey ginger ice cream sandwiches - soft ginger cookies with mango custard ice cream and fresh fruit and lime gels.

The Isle of Wight has access to fresh organic local vegetables, which Wendy used. She also worked with her school’s gardening club to help plant ingredients used in these dishes so that the children could see them grow and taste how they were used.

Chartwell’s culinary director, Andy Walker attended the Slough heat and was very enthusiastic about the entire competition, saying: “SCOTY is without doubt the premier food competition for all school caterers. Nothing else has such heritage, heart and future thinking.”

Meanwhile Jackie Sweeney travelled down from Norwich to present her meal to the judges. Jackie’s ‘grab and go’ offering, a sweet chili glazed Quorn vegan spiral dog, was designed with the help of students from the Hewett Academy, where Jackie works for the Vertas Group. “I liked the idea of a sausage with a lovely crisp outside, The potato on the outside gives a nice texture on a skewer and looks good but not messy.”

Her main course, paprika Quorn chicken with timbale of orzo, has proved popular in the school. Jackie explains: “I like the idea of the of the Quorn Fillet being the main item on the dish, so I looked to dress it up with lovely colourful peppers & onions with tasty orzo for a different concept, and a good vibrant tasty looking dish. We always have ‘Meat-Free’ Mondays and I thought this dish would go really well with the students.”

Jackie’s described her dessert as caramelized pineapple with coconut rice. “Slightly roasting the juicy pineapple brings out the sweet flavour of the fruit, a different twist is the crumble, replicating the pineapple visually nicely accompanied with the creamed rice help finish the dish off perfectly. I feel everyone is now far more interested in vegetarian/vegan food and my menu ideas will hopefully reflect this giving a more varied approach.”

The competition now heads off to Barnsley College, where contestants from Yorkshire, Humberside, the North East and Scotland will battle it out for their chance of winning a place at the finals, being held at the Main Event in July.

After the challenge in Yorkshire the judges will be heading to Cannock where First Choice’s kitchens in Cannock will host the contestants from the West Midlands, the North West and Wales. LACA wishes all the contestants for these next two heats the very best of luck, and thank everyone who entered the earlier heats for their participation.

The national final will be held at the LACA Main Event on Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th July, you can register free to watch it live at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole with the overall winner announced on the evening of Thursday 7th July.