School chef prepares for national final

28 February 2018

School chef Donna Spiers

Nottinghamshire school chef Donna Spiers has been crowned a regional winner and is through to the national final of a prestigious catering awards event next month.

The 54-year-old from Alderman White Secondary School in Chilwell Lane, Bramcote, recently won the regional round of LACA’s (Lead Association for Catering in Education) School Chef of the Year 2018, which is sponsored by MAGGI® from Nestlé Professional®. 

Donna will now compete with nine other finalists in the national final at Stratford Upon Avon College in Warwickshire on March 8. The competition is the flagship event for school chefs to showcase their professional skills.

Donna had already been crowned Nottinghamshire winner following a bake off at County Hall in October. And she achieved success by winning the regional heat at Cityserve in Birmingham in December.

Donna said: “I put myself forward just to see how far I could get and I am delighted to have won the regional award and be in with a chance to win the national award. I am still on a high and everyone in the school is buzzing. It is good for us and Nottinghamshire County Council and I am really proud.”

Donna has worked at the school for 23 years and this is the first time she has entered the awards.

In addition to the kudos of winning the national title, the 2018 champion will receive a £1,000 cash prize and be awarded the LACA 2018 School Chef of the Year trophy.  He or she will also receive a commemorative plaque, a work experience trip and an invitation to a calendar of high profile catering industry engagements between 2018 - 2019. The national second and third place winners will receive a cash prize of £500 and £300 respectively.

Donna’s brief for the regional final was to produce a meal for £1.30 a head and Donna went for a multi-cultural menu. Her dishes were as follows:

Stuffed chapatti with lamb shish kebab and apple and mint relish, tomato salsa with grated mooli with mustard seeds on top, wholemeal rice and turmeric with vegetable bouillon and banana layered Sundae with a Robin Hood symbol.

Councillor Kevin Rostance, Committee Vice-Chairman for Communities and Place, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Many congratulations to Donna on this fantastic achievement. Our school catering teams do a wonderful job throughout the year and Donna’s success in this competition further raises their profile across the county and beyond.”

John Hughes, Group Manager for Catering and Facilities Management, at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We are extremely proud of Donna winning the regional final and wish her every success in the national final on March 8. Donna is a great ambassador for our schools catering service in Nottinghamshire county schools.”

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