Huddersfield school chef Tom bhajis his way into competition final

Two more contestants have fought their way into the Final of this year’s School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) competition. Tom Armstrong, representing Yorkshire and Humberside has been joined by Victoria Clair from the North East and Scotland region.

Mellors Catering Service’s Tom Armstrong from Shelley College created a tandoori Quorn & onion bhaji for the innovative new ‘Grab and Go’ round, before dishing up an Indian spiced Quorn cottage pie with crushed Bombay potatoes, a butter sauce and greens for the main course. His dessert of coconut milk panna cotta with mango puree rounded things off nicely.

Meanwhile, Victoria Clair from Stockton Borough Council’s Crooksbarn Primary School offered a ‘meaty’ Quorn, goats cheese and beetroot roll for the first round. Her main course was a mouthwatering, herby Quorn and spinach tortellini served with a medley of vegetables and an arrabbiata sauce. Her dessert was a special rhubarb & raspberry crumble with custard.

Chair of the Judges, Kate Snow said: “We’ve seen a lot of great dishes today across both the main and the new grab and go category. Everyone has really embraced using Quorn, there are a lot of lucky pupils out there who get to enjoy meals from these chefs every day.”

Speaking after the heat Tom said: “It seems to me, Quorn products do not get enough recognition, I have found that they are a perfect platform for flavour. If you apply simple techniques and take the time to infuse them with flavours it really elevates the original product to what it is capable of. This is never truer than when cooking Indian cuisine, which is predominately vegetarian to begin with and I certainly feel there is a niche for them in the education sector.”

Tom and Victoria are pictured with judge Sharon Armstrong, lead judge Kate Snow from sponsors Quorn Foods UK (left) and LACA Board Members Joanne Brown and Vice Chair-Elect, Anita Brown (Right)

Victoria was equally as excited saying: I was inspired to create the Grab ‘n’ Go recipe due to one of my favourite starters, Goats Cheese & Beetroot Tart. Knowing that most children enjoy sausage rolls, I combined the two ideas and created my Grab ‘n’ Go item. For my Main Course, I know that any dish containing pasta and tomato sauce is certain to be a winning combination. I often use Quorn products when producing school meals and the children always enjoy them.

“The raspberries for my dessert come from the gardens at Crooksbarn Primary School and are grown by the children. The vegetables and the Goats Cheese were sourced from our local farm shops within Stockton on Tees.”

The recent heats for this year’s competition were held at Barnsley College. Further heats are being held around the country with the final rounds being held at the LACA Main Event in July.

LACA – the school food people (Local Authority Catering Association), was established in 1990 and is the leading professional body representing over 1000 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.

Quorn’s Kate Snow added “We partnered with LACA as part of our mission to help children and young adults make healthier and more sustainable choices in their early years. Each round of SCOTY shows us that there is so much good work already being done in education. Once again, it’s a tough round to judge.”

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 are being 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.

The national final will be held at the LACA Main Event on Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th July at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole with the overall winner announced on the evening of Thursday 7th July.
Regional final winners will each receive a £100 cash prize. At the national final, 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. The national second and third place winners will receive £500 and £300 respectively.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.