St Martin and St Mary C of E Primary School were last year’s winners of the McDougalls Young Baking Team competition; we caught up with its school caterer to find out how life has been since the win and how the school has used the prize fund to improve their cookery department.
The team based in Cumbria won over the judges with their White Chocolate and Raspberry Scones recipe, impressing the panel with their incredible attention to detail, right down to the handmade white chocolate swans and the mini pots of jam used as part of the presentation of the dish. Finley Park (aged 8), Harry Vinall (aged 9) and Alice Evans (aged 10), supported by school caterer Nic Hastie, visited their local farm to collect the eggs used in the recipe and sourced the chocolate from a nearby company, adhering to the locally sourced ingredients competition theme. The school was awarded a £1,000 prize which they used to purchase a range of school equipment to facilitate a weekly cookery club.
Nic Hastie, School Caterer at St Martin and St Mary C of E Primary School, comments, “The cookery club runs two nights a week with four pupils a night, we have baked a whole variety of goods including decorated fairy cakes, biscuits and the winning Raspberry and White Chocolate Scones dish. The class is incredibly popular and I’ve had over 50 sign ups, it’s been great to see the children so keen to learn new cookery skills and have fun whilst doing so. The support from the McDougalls team has been faultless and the prize money has made creating a cookery club for the school, finally possible. We have been so excited and overwhelmed by the experience that we are definitely entering the competition again this year. It was such a memorable experience for the children involved and their confidence came on in leaps and bounds throughout the process. Even if we don’t progress, I know the children will have had so much fun taking part.”
For schools wanting to be in with the chance of winning the £1,000 prize there is still time to register your interest, in what will be the fifth consecutive McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition. Based on the feedback from last year’s winners, 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. Professor Tanya Byron, a chartered clinical psychologist, who has appeared in two of her own TV shows and been a national columnist, will join the line-up of experts during this year’s judging process and will bring her expertise in confidence to this element of the competition. 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.
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, experience 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 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.
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