Tanya cooks up a schools top title
Posted on January 3, 2008
School kitchen manager Tanya Watkin is enjoying a healthy helping of success, after winning a top title.
Children at Eaton Bray Lower School are among the best-fed pupils in Bedfordshire, thanks to Tanya. Now the 34-year-old has won the county round of a national contest for school chefs.
She was voted Bedfordshire's top school chef, in a cook-off for the National School Chef of the Year Competition.
Next, she will go on to compete against chefs from around East Anglia in the regional heats.
She said: "I'm really happy. I didn't think I'd win, I was surprised."
Her husband Gary, and children Holly, eight, and Rebecca, six, who attend Eaton Bray Lower, were delighted by her win.
And the school team was thrilled for her, too.
Head Sue Hounslow said: "We are delighted for her. She works very hard as our school cook, she is fully involved in the life of the school.
"For example, if the children are doing a topic on Vikings, then a melon is miraculously turned into a 'Viking longship'!
"When they visit a butterfly farm, she'll make biscuits into the shape of butterflies - and she works really hard to make dinners special for the children."
Tanya, who joined the school in March 2006, had to prepare four portions of a main course, and four helpings of dessert, for the contest.
She cooked up tasty Tex Mex beef wrap, followed by banoffee yoghurt cup.
The aim was that the school menu idea should be suitable for 11-year-old pupils, and should be a balanced twocourse meal. And the dishes had to meet competition standards, but still be adaptable to large-scale catering.
The judges took into account a wide range of factors, including flavour, colour texture, presentation, nutritional balance, the use of regional and seasonal products, working practices, creativity and service counter marketing.
Healthy eating is one of the areas for which Eaton Bray Lower has won high praise.
Last year, the school was awarded National Healthy School status, after excelling at meeting government guidelines in areas including healthy eating and physical activity.
The school's healthy eating menu has been greeted with enthusiasm by the pupils, and the number of youngsters having cooked school meals has soared.
For the latest news from Eaton Bray and beyond, get the Dunstable Gazette every Wednesday and make a daily date with Dunstable Today.
Source: Dunstable Gazette, 2 January 2008
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