LACA School Chef of the Year 2022

The School Chef of the Year competition (SCOTY) is a jewel in the LACA annual calendar and is the education catering sector’s premier culinary skills competition – and the search for the 2022 champion has just begun! It showcases the high quality of school meals and the contribution they make to the health and wellbeing of children. The competitors can be any kitchen-based staff involved in the daily preparation of pupils’ meals in schools.

The 2021 title of went to Rob Chambers from Hampton College (IFG Cucina) in Peterborough after he competed in the national final in October. Chambers took on 10 top school chefs from across Britain, including the Orkney Islands and the Isle of Wight, in what was a fiercely fought cook-off at the LACA Main Event. His winning menu was:

Main course: Aromatic steamed bao bun, sriracha glazed Chinese cabbage and Asian salad with a soy and chilli dressing.

Dessert: Coconut and lemongrass panna cotta, pineapple compote, charred pineapple with coconut tuile.

Chambers said: “I am absolutely thrilled and proud to have won the national title. With the standard and skill level among this year’s finalists being so high, it was an honour to have competed with such a talented group of people.”

In addition to the kudos of winning, the 2021 champion received a £1,000 cash prize, the LACA 2021 SCOTY trophy, a work experience trip and an invitation to a calendar of high-profile catering industry engagements.

Eagle-eyed viewers will also have seen 2020 SCOTY champion Holly Charnock, from Woodlands Primary School in Liverpool, appear on the BBC’s Mary Berry: Love to Cook. This was a fantastic way for Charnock to end a Covid-hit year.

In addition to preparing and serving an imaginative two course meal (main and dessert) aimed at 11 year old primary or secondary pupils, in a new twist competitors will be tasked with creating a grab and go savoury snack. Both the main meal and snack will need to use at least one Quorn product. One Bisto product will need to be used in either the snack or the main course, alongside a 50% fruit-based dessert that should reflect school standards.

LACA is launching SCOTY with continued sponsorship from Quorn Professionals and, new for 2022, supported by Bisto. Registrations for the competition are now open to all kitchen-based staff involved in the daily preparation of pupils’ meals in schools across the UK no matter who the service provider is. For more information, go to

Registrations close on 11th February 2022, while full entries must be received no later than 11th March 2022. Regional finals will be held throughout May and the national final will once again be held at the LACA Main Event at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on 6th and 7th July 2022.

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