Lee Taylor, Chef Manager at John Gulson Primary School has been crowned the winner of the West Midlands regional heat of the LACA School Chef of the Year 2022, securing his place at the national finals taking place in July.

During the competition, the chefs are challenged to create healthy and nutritious meals aimed at 11-year-old school children. Within the 1 hour 45-minute time limit, chefs were asked to prepare, cook and present a grab & go savoury snack, costing just 60p per head. They are also challenged to create a main course and dessert, costing a total of £1.40 per head. All dishes had to meet the School Food Standards and Eat Well Guide, and use at least one Quorn product, who sponsored the event.

Lee served a grab & go offer of Aloo Chaat Masala with cooked roti chips. For the main course, he served Keema cottage pie with chana masala served with an Indian pickled slaw and sour cream & mint dip. Finally, continuing with the Indian inspired dishes, he served a dessert of Indian spiced apple crumble with mango ice cream and fruit coulis.

Reflecting on the experience, Lee said “The inspiration came from the pupils within my primary school – we ran a mini competition to see what would be popular. We often use Quorn products within the dishes as these can be enjoyed by most of the pupils we serve due their religious beliefs. We have even used Quorn in the dessert as an emulsifier to make the dish as creamy as possible.”

Kevin Green, Operations Director, Academy said: “We are thrilled for Lee who has once again proved triumphant in the School Chef of the Year competition and for securing his place in the final. Lee is an incredibly talented individual and is a credit to Academy and his community. This is a wonderful achievement for him, and we will be fully supporting him in the final.”

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.