Rachel hopes to be cream of the crop

Blackhall Primary School cook Rachel Parker
Blackhall Primary School cook Rachel Parker

A SCHOOL cook is hoping to tantalise the taste buds of top judges as she bids to be the region’s best school chef.

Blackhall Colliery Primary School cook Rachel Parker was due to represent County Durham in the regional final of the School Chef of the Year 2012 competition today.

The 41-year-old, who has worked at the Middle Street-based school for three years and has more than 20 years’ catering experience, will have one-and-a-half hours to prepare a two-course meal.

She will be serving up herb-crusted fish with cous cous and spicy tomato sauce, followed by baked toffee apple pudding with custard.

If successful today, she will go on to battle it out for the national title in May.

Rachel, from Balliol Close, in Peterlee, will compete against six other culinary whizzes from across the North-East and Scotland in the competition, being held at Newcastle College.

Meals, being judged by a panel of experts and two Year 6 pupils, should cost no more than £1.50 per child and should be nutritionally-balanced.

Rachel, who works for the Taylor Shaw catering company at the school, said: “When I found out I was representing the whole of County Durham, it was a bit scary.

“But it was also exciting to think I was chosen out of everyone else.

“It’s also an achievement for the school.”

Rachel, whose father Gordon Parker was a pastry chef at the maternity hospital in Little Thorpe for 20 years, has test-driven the food with the children at the school.

Jacqueline Smiles, area supervisor with Taylor Shaw, said: “I think Rachel has got a good chance within the competition.”

School Chef of the Year is run by Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) for school chefs to showcase their skills.