Public sector chefs serve up good food at ScotHot
Four public sector caterers put their skills to the test in the Scottish Culinary Championships’ Food for Life Challenge on 8 March, with East Ayrshire’s Eleanor Geddes being named Best in Class for her winning dish, ‘Bean fishin’’.
Eleanor, who is Catering Manager at Shortlees Primary School in East Ayrshire, cooked a chickpea flatbread, beans, breaded fish and pea and spinach mash. Eleanor focused on Scottish sourcing, using fish from family run business J Pieroni in Ayr, free range eggs from Corrie Mains farm in Mauchline, fruit and vegetables from East Ayrshire’s A&A Spittal, and beans, passata and dried ingredients from Glasgow-based social enterprise Locavore.
Eleanor says, ‘I came into the public sector because I liked the idea of cooking for children, and the best part of my job is knowing I am getting good food to those who need it. My hope for the future of public sector food is that there’ll be more recognition of the high-quality food served in school meals.’
Cooking alongside Eleanor were:
- School caterer Maria Millar from East Lothian, who took second place with her Fish Pie
- Chef Grzegorz Dubiel, from Rossie Young People’s Trust. He was awarded Merit for his fish and chips – battered monkfish tail served with Pont Neuf potatoes, mushy peas, punchy tartare sauce and carrot and kale coleslaw
- Jamie Kimmett, Catering Supervisor at Strathblane Primary School in Stirling. Jamie’s vegetable kofta dish was awarded Merit by the judges.
The competition class was open to public sector chefs, who were invited to prepare a main course appropriate for a public sector setting. The competition criteria were inspired by the Food for Life Served Here award standards. These included using at least one organic ingredient, using less but better meat, and highlighting seasonal and local produce.
The Scottish Culinary Championships are a highlight of ScotHot, a leading showcase for the food and drink, and hospitality industries. After several years off due to Covid 19, ScotHot made an eagerly anticipated return to Glasgow’s SEC on 8 and 9 March 2023.
Food for Life Scotland was pleased to sponsor the very first Food for Life Challenge at the Championships. The sponsorship ties in with our Public Sector Expansion Pilot in Glasgow, where we are working with public sector caterers across the sector to achieve the Food for Life Served Here award.
The Food for Life Scotland Challenge was designed to challenge outdated perceptions of what public sector food looks like in Scotland today. With the Good Food Nation Act having recently passed into law and placed public sector cooks at the forefront of improving the nation’s food system, it is important that this sector is given the recognition it deserves.