Doncaster school chef hoping to cook to victory

Alison Jones, head chef at Toll Bar Primary School, will be competing in the National School Chef of the Year competition

Alison Jones, head chef at Toll Bar Primary School, will be competing in the National School Chef of the Year competition

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A school chef from Doncaster is preparing to go head to head with chefs from across the region to be crowned Yorkshire and Humber’s best school cook.

Alison Jones, head chef at Toll Bar Primary School, Askern Road, is competing in the National School Chef of the Year competition.

She must first win a regional heat to have a chance of being in the national final and winning the title.

Alison will face a live cook-off against two other cooks in the contest at Doncaster College on January 23 at 1pm.

Alison competed last year and her spiced rhubarb pavlova with Shreddies cereal topping was highly commended.

Now, she is hoping to walk away a winner this year.

She said: “I’m a little bit apprehensive, but very excited.

“I know from doing it last year that it can be a little bit nerve-racking, but I know what to expect now.

“Having people there watching, especially the media, does put the pressure on, but I know I’ll enjoy it.”

In her bid to be crowned the best, Alison will cook lemon and herb chicken fillets wrapped in courgette tracks, with ratatouille stack and couscous funnel for a main meal, followed by crunchy chocolate shortbread with fruits and meringue for dessert.

Alison, who has been the head chef at Toll Bar Primary School for 11 years, has tested out her recipe in the school and said it went down well with the children.

“Everyone knows it can be hard to get children to eat fruit and veg, but they loved it,” she said.

Competitors have been asked to produce a main and a dessert which would appeal to primary school children and also meets nutritional requirements for no more than £1.60 per head.

Professional chef Chris Waddington will judge the contest, along with two pupils from Bentley High Street Primary School, Bentley, and an education catering expert and a dietitian.

The winner from the regional heat will go on to represent the whole of the Yorkshire and Humber region, against nine other regional champions, in the national final which is to be held in May.

The competition has been organised annually for more than two decades by LACA – Lead Association for Catering in Education – and is sponsored by MAGGI from Nestlé Professional.

The contest aims to show to parents the high quality of school meals.