St Giles’s dinner lady offers tasty food for thought

The daily meals on offer to pupils at Croydon’s St Giles Primary on Pampisford Road must be unrecognisable from the over-boiled cabbage and dry spotted dick (stop giggling at the back) that was the stuff usually dished up for school dinners in the past.

St Giles school chef Sharon Taylor, in blue, hard at work in the school dinners competition at Croydon College, watched over by the judges, including two pupils from Whitehorse Manor,

St Giles school chef Sharon Taylor, in blue, hard at work in the school dinners competition at Croydon College, watched over by the judges, including two pupils from Whitehorse Manor, Ronaldo Baker and Kayleigh Harding

For the second time in four years, St Giles’s school cook Sharon Taylor made it through the London regional final of the School Chef of the Year competition, which was staged at Croydon College at the end of last month. And while Taylor did not win, just making it into the top eight of all the school cooks from across the capital for a second time demonstrates the consistent high quality of her work.

With national nutritional standards imposed, school dinners these days have not only to meet those requirements, but also offer high street flavours and themes for the children. Free school meals come into force for all infant pupils from September, too, and the schools, catering providers and school chefs are gearing up for this major implementation.

Organised by the Lead Association for Catering in Education, contestants had to cook a main course and dessert suitable for an 11-year-old, and spending no more than £1.60 per child on the whole meal. Taylor’s dishes were Peruvian chicken, served with rice and tomato ceviche, and Matchu Pitchu chocolate pots.

We’re unsure whether the competition was conducted on an entirely level playing field over costs: one of Taylor’s rivals offered Hunter’s pie that included “locally sourced venison”. For school dinners? That school cook works in Richmond, so maybe the deer herd in the park is missing a hind or two…

On the judging panel for the competition sponsored by Maggi, was a local professional chef and two 11-year-old pupils, Ronaldo Baker and Kayleigh Harding, from Whitehorse Manor School, as well as an education catering expert and a leading dietitian.

According to one of the organisers, “The standard was incredibly high with exceptional professional skill and culinary creativity on display. It was one of our toughest regional finals, as it was the largest with a total of eight contestants on the day.”


Coming to Croydon


Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 516,649 page views (Jan-Dec 2013)

If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

Advertisements

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Croydon College, Education, St Giles' School and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply