RITA Allanson has cooked up thousands of school dinners for thousands of kids.
On Friday she hung up her apron for the last time after working in the kitchens at Caedmon School for 40 years.
She was presented with a vase, chocolates and flowers by Gavin Wakeham, the area catering manager for North Yorkshire County Caterers.
Rita (69) of Queens Drive, started working in the school kitchen as an assistant doing the washing up and helping roll out pastry for the pies.
She had five years off when she had her children but came back to work at the school in 1976 and has stayed ever since.
She became the assistant cook for 20 years working with Maureen Hedlam and Sharon Armstrong.
For the last six years she has been looking after the sandwich bar during the lunch hour.
Rita said the provision of school meals had changed dramatically over the years.
She said: “I have enjoyed it up until the last four years. It has gone downhill. There have been a lot of changes in school meals and it’s time to go.
“I have seen all the kids and my own grandkids come through the dining all. It has been my life and I have loved it. I am sad to go and I will very much miss the people that I work with.”