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Oven gloves off for primary school cooking contest

Published on Monday, June 26, 2017

YOUNGSTERS from six Leicester primary schools will be competing for the title of Primary Chef of the Year on Wednesday (28 June).

The children – aged between eight and 11 – have been asked to come up with a balanced two-course menu that costs just £1.30 per head to prepare.

Cooking in pairs, and supported by a helper from their school, they will have just 90 minutes to prepare their menu under competition conditions.

Andrew Dexter, area manager of City Catering, said: “This is the first time we’ve run a Primary Chef of the Year competition so we’re very excited to see what the children come up with.

“We’re looking for a balanced meal that children of primary school-age will enjoy – and we also hope to see ingredients in the menu that reflect the diversity of the local community.”

The cook-off will take place in the catering kitchens at Leicester College. Dave Thomas, programme area manager at the college, said: “We’re delighted to host this competition in partnership with City Catering and Leicester City Council.

“It’s really important that children are encouraged to develop an interest in food preparation, and this competition shows that it’s never too young to start.”

Six schools – Christ The King, Overdale Primary, Scraptoft Primary, Sandfield Primary, Bridge Primary and Mayflower Primary – are taking part in the competition, with all the students coming from years 4, 5 and 6.

The children’s menus have already been submitted to the judges and include a tasty chickpea bolognaise, a Filipino chicken dish and a falafel & hummus wrap, with desserts including carrot halwa, a homemade berry surprise and some delicious beetroot brownies.

Assistant city mayor for children, young people and schools Cllr Sarah Russell said: “It’s great to see children as young as eight having fun in the kitchen.

“Learning how to prepare a balanced meal and to eat well on a budget are valuable life skills – and the lessons the children learn today could help them make healthier choices for the rest of their lives.”

The young chefs behind the winning menu will receive a trophy and see their dishes served at primary schools throughout Leicester. 

There will also be trophies for the best main course and the best dessert.

The Primary Chef of the Year competition is supported by City Catering, Leicester City Council, Leicester College and the Soil Association.