School chefs from across Wales took part in the regional final of the School Chef of the Year Competition last week (6th February) and Rhondda Cynon Taf’s very own finalist Tracey Gibby, from Porth Junior School received a special commendation for her delicious dessert.
The School Chef of the Year Competition is organised by the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) and is sponsored by Maggi from Nestle Professional.
Tracey was highly commended for the “outstanding” quality of her mouth-watering ‘Porth’ puffs – choux pastry puffs with fresh strawberries, light double cream and condensed milk, drizzled with honey and chocolate served with honey and snowflake drizzle.
Tracey’s place setting was dressed with a miner’s lamp, a bunch of daffodils and a statue of a miner, with a row of mini terraced houses which were made by the pupils, to signify typical Valleys housing.
Tracey who fought off some tough competition from her fellow colleagues in the Council’s Catering Services department last November may not have scooped first prize in the regional finals but she put up a very good fight and is still Rhondda Cynon Taf’s School Chef of the Year!
Finalists in the competition at Coleg Morgannwg, Pontypridd, were tasked with making a lunch that would appeal to an 11 year old, while spending no more than £1.25 per child on the whole meal.
Tracey served up her delicious menu of ’rheola’ rolled chicken with ‘sosban fach’ sauce, served with ‘Rhondda’ roasts, duchess potato, and a carrot and leek bundle. She rounded-off her meal with mouth-watering ‘Porth’ puffs served with honey and snowflake drizzle.
Carmarthenshire’s Glenys Rees’ meat loaf complete with a West Wales twist in a nod to her Llandysul home and caramel and fruit shortcake saw her claim the overall prize.
The four chefs, who also included Mary Jones from Lampeter, who was highly commended for her main course and Jane Pitman, from Barry, were required to make a main course and dessert including locally-sourced ingredients or ones that typify their region.
Councillor Eudine Hanagan, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning said:
“We are very proud of Tracey’s achievement and I am sure all will agree our school pupils are very lucky to be served such delicious, high standard food by cooks across the County Borough.
“They are an asset to us and we hope pupils continue to indulge and enjoy school meals, especially now the proof is in the pudding, so to speak, in terms of the standard of our cooks.
“We were also pleased to host the regional Welsh final in Rhondda Cynon Taf this year and celebrate the standard of schools meals we have on offer here.”
For further information on school meals in Rhondda Cynon Taf call 01443 01443 744155.