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Tom Armstrong claims LACA’s 2022 School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) title

08 Jul 2022
After two competitive days of cooking Tom Armstrong, employed by Mellors Catering Services and chef manager at Shelley College in Huddersfield, emerged as the worthy winner of the School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) competition.

Raheem Morgan of Torridon Primary School was named the runner-up and Clair Edwards from Rhiw Syr Dafydd Primary School, Caerphilly came third.

Tom, who was a first time finalist, served up a stunning Tandoori Quorn & Onion Bhaji in the ‘Grab and Go’ class before going on to deliver an Indian spiced Quorn Cottage Pie, served with crushed Bombay potatoes, butter sauce and greens. His dessert of Coconut milk panna cotta with mango puree and freeze dried raspberries completed the meal.

Speaking after the competition Tom said: “I have met some amazing people, who now feel like family. LACA is a fantastic organisation. As a first time finalist, I loved the welcoming feeling. I am so excited for the next 12 months.”

Raheem Morgan won the ‘Grab and Go’ Award for his Loaded Quorn Corn savoury waffle, a spicy savoury waffle topped with avocado, tomato and crème fraiche inspired by a traditional Jamaican corn fritter.

Chair of Judges, Kate Snow said: “It’s been amazing to see the incredible creativity and quality from all the finalists. Now more than ever before we need to inspire children into more sustainable eating habits, both for their health and that of the planet.

“We’re proud to be a sponsor of School Chef of the Year, Tom is a very worthy winner. All of his dishes were fantastic. We look forward to working with him to create delicious meat free menu choices for school menus.”

LACA – the school food people, was established in 1990 and is the leading professional body representing over 1,000 members drawn from across the school food sector representing public sector and private contract caterers and suppliers to schools, academies, and MATs across the UK.

Speaking about the event, Sarah Robb, foodservice marketing manager at Premier Foods, added: “It’s been another impressive year in the LACA School Chef of the Year competition. We’ve been blown away by the variety of dishes served up both at the regional and national finals. Congratulations to Tom on winning this title. We look forward to following his journey during their winning year.”

The LACA School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) is now in its 28th year and is something of an institution in school meals catering. It has drawn national attention with the annual winners often appearing on TV to showcase the potential that lies within the school kitchen.

In a new twist for 2022, competitors were tasked with creating a grab & go savoury snack in addition to a delicious and imaginative main meal, using at least one Quorn product in both the new grab & go item and main course and one Bisto product from a list provided in either the snack or the main course, alongside a 50% fruit-based dessert that should reflect school standards, using one Premier Foods product from a list provided.

Tom Armstrong, as the 2022 national winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize, the 2022 LACA School Chef of the Year trophy and an invitation to a calendar of catering industry events including a study tour in Germany courtesy of MKN. The national second and third place winners will receive £500 and £300 respectively.