Michael, who has worked in the catering industry for 29 years and as a school chef for five years, competed against nine other regional final winners from around the country for the most prestigious title that any school chef across the UK can hold.
Michael’s winning menu delighted judges with a delicious oven baked, southern crumbed chicken stuffed with herb mousseline, potato gnocchi in a tomato sauce, broccoli and roasted carrots en- papillote.
Michael’s tasty winning dessert was made up of a light, creamy coconut cheesecake, pineapple and strawberry compote and tuile biscuit.
Michael, who is currently based at Peartree Spring Primary School, said he loves encouraging pupils to try new, exciting flavours and ingredients by making food fun, nutritional and well balanced:
“I think my dishes stood out because the flavours were great, the presentation was excellent and I made good use of the ingredients. The judges said it was a unanimous decision – so that was nice to hear!
“This year was more of a challenge because we have to keep ingredients and costings to a minimum which becomes more difficult as food costs have gone up. I also like to use local Hertfordshire ingredients and products, but this can be a challenge too.
“Without the support of HCL, HCL’s Food Development Chef David Gower, Peartree Spring School, the children and my team, I wouldn’t be here!”
HCL chief executive, Lin O’Brien said: “We are incredibly proud of Michael’s achievement at this year’s national final of the School Chef of the Year awards. Being crowned School Chef of the Year, and competing against many other talented school chefs, is no easy feat so it is great to see Michael’s hard work has paid off.
“Every year the standard and profile of this competition continues to rise to new levels and the hard work and determination Michael has shown in achieving the national title is a real credit to HCL”.
School Chef of the Year is organised by LACA (Lead Association for Catering in Education) and is sponsored by MAGGI® from Nestlé Professional®.
To find out more about HCL, visit https://hertscatering.co.uk/.