A school chef in Whitby says she feels “very honoured and privileged” after claiming the latest in her run of prestigious titles.
Kath Breckon, a dinner lady at West Cliff Primary School, was crowned the Yorkshire and Humber LACA School Chef of the Year for her Whitby-themed culinary delights.
She now goes on to compete against nine other regional champions in the National Final to be held in March.
Kath’s main course menu included St Hilda’s Spicy Beef Pot, Caedmon Cross-Bread, Bram Stoker Sweetcorn and 199 Steps Croquettes, while her dessert was Dracula’s Bat-tastic Baked Lemon Cheesecake.
Her warming beef chilli with garlic cornbread, sweet potato and butternut squash croquettes and lemon cheesecake on an oat cookie base saw Kath victorious at Gateshead College.
It is the fourth time in eight years that she has reached the national finals.
Kath said it is something the whole school gets involved in, from learning about the town’s rich cultural past to being able to have a go at the recipes themselves.
“The children have been learning about Whitby Abbey, which is why we chose that theme,” she said.
“It’s such a prominent feature and it’s our history so we looked at what monks ate, farmed and foraged.”
Dishes have to cost just £1.60 per head and meet nutritional standards.
The idea is to get pupils cooking and and design dishes that they they will be able to make themselves.
West Cliff prides itself on offering its children a varied and healthy menu – along with an American-style diner – and Kath said it is rewarding seeing youngsters eat just about everything, when they would not have touched veg before.
“That’s the rewarding part of the job,” she said.
Now she is bidding for the ultimate recognition for everyone’s efforts – the national title, not just reward for the school but for school cooks across the region.
“In the past eight years, there has been only one year when someone from North Yorkshire County Caterers hasn’t held the regional title,” she said. “It proves what good school chefs we have in North Yorkshire.”
However, the recipe has to remain a closely guarded secret – for now at least.