Chapter House Preparatory School were crowned Premier Foods’ McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year winners back in the summer of 2017, we caught up with them to find out what they are doing now and how they used the prize fund to improve culinary education within their school. The team from York baked its way to the top spot with its Queen Ethelburga’s Mess, impressing judges with their exceptional team work and a deliciously tasting recipe. Lara Haigh and Jack Bennett, aged nine, supported by school caterer Sarah Middlemiss, used fresh strawberries, garden mint and locally sourced eggs within their recipe, adhering to the local produce theme of the competition. Chapter House Preparatory School, the primary school who is part of the wider Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate achieved high scores for teamwork, presentation, taste, aroma and texture of their winning dish. The school was awarded £1,000 to help them within the school kitchen which they used to transform their outdoor space with a coup to house a flock of chickens.
Elizabeth Blacker, Pastoral Care Coordinator for Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, comments, “We wanted to use the prize money to purchase something that provided additional teaching and learning opportunities for the school and its pupils. The chickens have done just this with the students being very inquisitive and asking lots of questions such as where do eggs come from? And, how do you know when a chicken is healthy? We asked the pupils to vote for the names of the chickens and they now go by; Cluck Norris, Big Bird and Piri-Piri. The support and responsibility that all pupils, from ages 4-18, have taken on has been lovely to see. Two of our students are tending to the chickens as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award as well as many enjoying some baking time using the fresh eggs they have collected. Pupils have been cleaning, feeding and checking the health and wellbeing of the chickens, learning about where chickens and their eggs come from. The first three months have been great and we’re really forward to seeing how the chickens can further help school life through our timetabled lessons. We have plans to incorporate learning about farming and animals during geography, using the eggs in experiments during science lessons and outside of the classroom in our kitchen garden.”
We spoke to the pupils to hear how they were finding their new residents and how the chickens were settling in;
“They are surprisingly very therapeutic, and I like having the responsibility. I just love the chickens”
Lillie, aged 11, pupil
“We were all really happy and excited when they came. I am definitely more calm and happy since the chickens have arrived.”
Yasmin, aged 12, pupil
“They make me happy and they make funny noises.”
Isabelle, aged 11, pupil
“I like to stroke the chickens and getting to know them.”
Austin, aged 7, pupil
“We like to play with them at the weekend and feed them and eat their eggs!”
Erasmus, aged 6, pupil
If you want to be in with the chance of winning £1,000 for your school then you’re in luck as Premier Foods is bringing back its McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition for the fifth year running. This year’s competition will have a strong focus on how cookery skills can help build children’s overall confidence.
Judges returning include – Carol Harwood, representing LACA; Andrew Green, representing the Craft Guild of Chefs; and Mark Rigby, Executive Chef at Premier Foods. This year Professor Tanya Byron, a chartered clinical psychologist, who has had two television shows and been a national columnist, will be a guest judge for the 2019 competition. This comes after feedback in previous years has shown that the competition is great for building children’s confidence. After the recipe competition closes on Friday 17th May, the judges will whittle down the entries and invite five shortlisted teams to the live final at LACA – The Main Event on Thursday 11th July 2019.
Schools looking to bake their way to the top spot should recruit a team of up to three enthusiastic 7-11 year olds and register online at www.premierfoodservice.co.uk. The winning team will take home the jackpot of £1,000 worth of equipment for their school kitchen, whilst each of the four runners up will win £250 worth of equipment. The competition theme will continue to focus on local produce, encouraging schools to source ingredients within a 30 mile radius of their school for their McDougalls recipes – helping children learn more about where their food comes from.
Professor Tanya Byron, comments: “I’m so thrilled to have been invited to guest judge at this year’s competition. It’s so important for children to obtain basic cookery skills when growing up, not only to develop independent living skills but also because cooking is a brilliant confidence booster. Knowing that they can start and complete a task and then, experiencing watching somebody else enjoy eating something which they have created can really build children’s self-esteem. Working as a team to see, smell, taste and touch their final dish is so rewarding and an achievement for them to experience with their peers. The competition is a great learning tool, teaching pupils about the importance of local ingredients and encouraging them to go out and source them. I am looking forward to it getting underway.”
Schools up for the baking challenge can register their interest at www.premierfoodservice.co.uk and will receive a McDougalls toolkit within seven days which will include product samples, an application form and recipe inspiration. Teams will be asked to create either a sweet or savoury recipe, which includes one local ingredient and one McDougalls Flour Based Mix.
Key Dates to remember
- Registration closes: 5th April 2018
- Recipes to be submitted: 17th May 2018
- Live final at LACA – The Main Event: 11th July 2018
 Ingredients must be sourced from within a 30 mile radius of the school’s address and can include fruit and vegetables grown, or locally made produce such as cheese or eggs