Harpenden school cook serves up a treat

A DELICIOUS school dinner menu has put a chef from Harpenden through to the finals of a national cookery competition. Jane Nugent, who cooks for the pupils at High Beeches Primary School, won the title of Anglia School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) after she i

A DELICIOUS school dinner menu has put a chef from Harpenden through to the finals of a national cookery competition.

Jane Nugent, who cooks for the pupils at High Beeches Primary School, won the title of Anglia School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) after she impressed with a lamb lattico and strawberry cheesecake at this week's competition.

Mrs Nugent, aged 44, was one of five top cooks from schools across the east of England who had to create a tasty and nutritious two-course meal in just 90 minutes for the panel of judges.

Her menu, which involved making her own puff pastry and using strawberries from a local farm, was inspired by fresh, local produce and cost no more than �1.10 to make. The judges, including a nutritionist and local school pupils, were particular impressed by how colourful Mrs Nugent's dishes were.

Mrs Nugent, who has worked at the primary school for four years, said that she can't wait for the final in May: "I'm in it to win it! I want to go all the way for the children at school, because they've all been so sweet and supportive."

She added: "I'm definitely a foodie: I love cooking and I love eating. I cook for hundreds of kids each day and then I like nothing more than to come home and get dinner on. Food's definitely important in the Nugent household."

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Mrs Nugent, who has two daughters aged 15 and 11, will be pitting her culinary skills against seven other top school chefs from England, Scotland and Wales at the SCOTY 2009 final in Sheffield.

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