Mini bakers demonstrated their rising talent as they competed in McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year.
The event, now in its third year, appeals to pupils up and down the country. The five finalists were Chapter House Preparatory School in York, Coed Eva Primary School in Cwmbran, Cranbrook C of E Primary School in Kent, Mendip Green Primary School in north Somerset and Perran-Ar-Worthal School in Cornwall, with Chapter House Preparatory baking their way to the number one spot with their Queen Ethelburga’s Mess.
The winning team impressed judges with their exceptional teamwork and a delicious recipe. Lara Haigh and Jack Bennett, both nine, supported by school caterer Sarah Middlemiss, used fresh
strawberries, garden mint and locally sourced eggs within their recipe, adhering to the local produce competition theme. “I really couldn’t be prouder of the team and their achievement in the competition today,” said Sarah Middlemiss. “Despite being a team member down due to illness, Lara and Jack threw themselves into the competition and worked calmly and meticulously to create their winning dish. They developed the recipe themselves back in our school kitchen in York, and I have been overwhelmed by their commitment to this competition.”
The final took place at LACA: The Main Event on 6 July, with the five schools cooking in front of a live audience. The judges – Andrew Green, representing the Craft Guild of Chefs; Carol Harwood, representing LACA; and Mark Rigby, executive chef at Premier Foods – had the near impossible task of choosing an overall winner from the impressive finalists. Chapter House Preparatory School achieved high scores for teamwork and presentation, taste, aroma and texture of their winning dish. The school was awarded £1,000 worth of kitchen equipment, which was presented to them by Sally Shadrack, chair of LACA.
The competition helps school caterers to encourage a passionate team of up to three children, between the ages of seven and 11, to develop an interest in food preparation by baking one sweet and one savoury recipe, including a product from the McDougalls Flours or Flour Based Mix range. Fitting in with this year’s theme of ‘local produce’, teams were also required to include an ingredient that had been sourced within a 30 mile radius of their school. “We were very impressed by the children’s imagination, dedication and enthusiasm throughout the competition and would like to thank everyone who contributed to making the competition such a triumph for the third year running,” added Sarah Robb, foodservice channel marketing manager at Premier Foods.