Mark makes top school dinners!

Mark Holmes, North West School Chef of the Year
Mark Holmes, North West School Chef of the Year

A COOK who serves up tasty meals to Wigan pupils, has been named the North West School Chef of the Year.

Mark Holmes, 42, who cooks school meals at Abraham Guest Academy, in Orrell, beat half a dozen skilful chefs at the Local Authority Caterers Association’s (LACA) competition to be crowned the best school chef in the whole of the region.

His winning dishes were chicken roulade with potato rosti, sticky carrots, pea puree and tarragon sauce and a dessert of raspberry cream, cheerios shortbread, passion sauce and lavender honey.

He will now go on to take part in the 2012 national final, scheduled for later in May, competing against nine other top school chefs from across Great Britain. Mark said: “I went into this competition thinking I would not win, but I thought I would try my best and it was a shock when I won.

“I think the amount of skill with both dishes and my knowledge of why I was using certain ingredients together and trying different things impressed the judges.

“At school I try to cook as many fresh meals as I can so the pupils get a healthy and balanced meal, as well as something they will enjoy.

“I let the quality of the products speak for themselves.”

Lynda Mitchell, LACA chairman said: “LACA’s School Chef of the Year continues to represent a highly positive way of communicating the benefits of supporting high quality school meals in order to combat obesity and help safeguard the health of the next generation.

“The skills and standards demonstrated by all the participants across the country, send a clear message that our talented front line staff in schools not only prepare tasty, highly creative dishes to tempt the taste buds of discerning children and young people but also nutritious school meals that can make a major contribution towards altering eating habits, improving diets and decreasing obesity levels.”