Farewell soggy semolina and concrete chips – a Poulton school cook has been named Lancashire’s school chef of the year with a dish to put many a masterchef to shame.
Sharon Hornby has been served a real treat after being named top chef in Lancashire by the Local Authority Caterer’s Association.
Sharon, who works at St Chad’s Primary in Poulton, cooked her way to the regional finals of the national competition, taking place in Manchester on Thursday.
She battled it out against nine other cooks from primary schools across Lancashire to reach the event.
Her signature dish of Italian chicken wrapped in bacon with a rich tomato sauce, dauphinoise potatoes with a lemon and herb crust and carrot and poppy seed salad followed by a courgette, coconut and lime sponge won the top prize.
Sharon said: “I was really nervous about the competition and hoping that something wouldn’t go wrong.
She is always keen to find out exactly what pupils like
“I was over the moon when I won.
“I’ll really focus and do as well as I can when I’m representing Lancashire in the regional finals.”
The annual competition puts the preparation, cooking and technical ability, together with the creativity and presentation skills of the school cooks to the test.
Each cook had to serve a signature dish judged by cooking experts.
They had to produce a healthy, balanced two-course meal in one hour and a half on a limited budget of £1.60 suitable for serving to primary school children.
The menu had to reflect the seasonal availability of products and showcase the regional cultural influences of each cook.
St Chad’s headteacher Jan Potter said: “She is fantastic.
“She is always keen to find out exactly what they like and always responds to their interest in food.
“She creates wonderful menus.
“We have an 80 per cent uptake on school dinners and she always makes the food look very attractive – the children love it.”
County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “School cooks face a challenge every day.
“Their menus have to be varied.”