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West Winch cook through to national final of school chef competition

A West Norfolk chef will be competing to be named the best school chef in the country having already impressed judges with her quirky dishes.

Having progressed through a regional stage, West Winch Primary School chef Annalisa Grief will represent the East of England at a national final in March.

Her deconstructed Chicken Shawarma kebab with Turkish slaw and coucous in a cool lemon dressing went down a treat at the St Albans regional event last week.

Annalisa Grief. James Kennedy Photographer (27731499)
Annalisa Grief. James Kennedy Photographer (27731499)

And now, Annalisa will compete against nine other regional champions and two wildcard entrants to be LACA East of England School Chef of the Year at Stratford upon Avon on March 5.

As well as her kebab dish, Mrs Grief also served up a blackcurrant cheesecake at the regional stage.

Mrs Grief said: “It was amazing when they called my name. I have served the dish to the children at school already. Many of them have come up and congratulated me.

Mrs Grief's dishes for the regional final. James Kennedy Photographer (27933518)
Mrs Grief's dishes for the regional final. James Kennedy Photographer (27933518)

"My twin girls really love a kebab so I decided to create a healthy version and that's where the idea came from.

"I have always enjoyed cooking."

She also entered the regionals last year with a chicken and chorizo hotpot dish. However, she did not make it to the national finals then.

In addition to the kudos of winning the national title, the 2020 champion will receive a £1,000 cash prize and the LACA 2020 School Chef of the Year trophy.

James Kennedy Photographer (27933512)
James Kennedy Photographer (27933512)

They will also be awarded a work experience trip and an invitation to a calendar of high profile catering industry engagements between 2020-21.

The national second and third place winners will receive cash prizes of £500 and £300 respectively.

Competitors have 90 minutes to prepare, cook and present four portions each of a two-course imaginative meal suitable for serving en masse to 11 year olds in primary or secondary schools.

The meal must comply with School Food Standards and take into account the East Well Guide 2016.

The food cost for one main course and dessert must not exceed £1.30 and a minimum of one different McDougalls product is required in each. Competitors can select ingredients from the full range of McDougalls Foodservice products.

LACA National Chair, Stephen Forster said: “There is no secret formula to succeeding in the LACA School Chef of the Year Competition.

"It just requires school chefs with passion, dedication and oodles of culinary skill mixed together with delicious, nutritious dishes prepared with creativity and flair.

"Every year, this competition allows us to demonstrate to the wider world both the professional expertise of today’s school chefs and the excellent meals they prepare tirelessly every day in schools across the country”.

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