Crawley cook wins ‘West Sussex school recipe challenge’

Crawley cook wins ‘West Sussex school recipe challenge’

A cook from Crawley has been celebrating after winning the ‘West Sussex School Recipe Challenge.’

Julie Harberd succeeded in the cook-off final, winning the Overall Winner’s title for her ‘Quality Standard Mark Lamb Mince, Spinach and Sweet Potato Curry’ dish. The accolade has also earned Julie’s recipe a place on the West Sussex County Council Special Schools Menu from October!

Julie Harberd with her winning dish.

Julie Harberd with her winning dish.

Julie, whose kitchen serves Manor Green College and Manor Green Primary School, said: “I really wasn’t expecting to win the competition, it was a lovely surprise. I put a lot of time and effort into my recipe and I’m thrilled that the judges liked it. It’s such an honour to know that my dish will be on the school menu from October – I hope the kids like it!”

The ‘West Sussex School Recipe Challenge’, which ran for the first time this year, was organised by West Sussex County Council, Solent Butchers and EBLEX1. Aimed at school cooks who cater for secondary schools and children with special needs throughout the county, the competition challenged entrants to come up with a dish featuring Quality Standard Mark beef or lamb which is suitable for school menus.

Quality Standard Mark beef and lamb, which is supplied to all Special Schools in West Sussex by Solent Butchers in Portsmouth, is fully assured from farm to plate with specifications that cover animal age, seasonality and maturation regimes which guarantee eating quality.

Hugh Judd, foodservice project manager for EBLEX, said: “Julie’s dish ticked all the boxes for this competition and most importantly, it was absolutely delicious!”

Mark Cristofoli, managing director of Solent Butchers, added: “The standard of entries was incredibly high and made judging very difficult indeed. We are delighted for Julie and look forward to working with her and West Sussex County Council to introduce her dish onto the West Sussex County Council Special Schools Menu in October.”

Peter Evans, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for children – start of life, said: “It’s extremely pleasing to hear about the high standards being set by catering staff at schools in West Sussex.

“I’d like to congratulate Julie and the other three finalists on their achievements and I’m sure Julie’s dish will be a tasty addition to school menus.”

John Figgins, county catering manager, added: “The standard of all four finalists’ dishes was extremely high.

“The winning dish was innovative and tasty, and will encourage students to perhaps try something a bit different, that’s still healthy – and that is what school meals are all about.

“Competitions like this are aimed at drawing out talent that can be hidden and it shows the catering trade and young people looking at different catering career options that there is real talent and skills in our school kitchens.”

L-R Back row: Hugh Judd from EBLEX, Mark Cristofoli from Solent Butchers and John Figgins from West Sussex County Council.   L-R Front row: Karen Lock from West Sussex County Council, Judith Robinson from Fordwater School, Julie Harberd from Manor Green College and Primary School, Nicola Boardman from St Anthony’s School and Kerry Forster from Bourne Community College.

L-R Back row: Hugh Judd from EBLEX, Mark Cristofoli from Solent Butchers and John Figgins from West Sussex County Council.
L-R Front row: Karen Lock from West Sussex County Council, Judith Robinson from Fordwater School, Julie Harberd from Manor Green College and Primary School, Nicola Boardman from St Anthony’s School and Kerry Forster from Bourne Community College.

The finalists were:

Julie Harberd, Quality Standard Mark Lamb Mince, Spinach and Sweet Potato Curry from Manor Green College and Manor Green Primary School, Crawley

Kerry Forster, Bobotie made with Quality Standard Mark Beef Mince from Bourne Community College, Emsworth

Judith Robinson ,Quality Standard Lamb and Chickpea Pasta from Fordwater School, Chichester

Nicola Boardman, Quality Standard Mark Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti from St Anthony’s School, Chichester

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