Michael Goulston, the 2018 East of England finalist, has taken the title of 2018 LACA School Chef of the Year, the first male winner in the competition’s 20-year history.
He won the title after a gruelling national final at Stratford upon Avon College in Warwickshire on 8th March where he competed against nine other regional finalists. His winning dishes were a main of chicken stuffed with herb mousseline, baked potato gnocchi in a tomato sauce, broccoli and roasted carrots en papillote. His dessert was a coconut cheesecake, pineapple and strawberry compote and tuile biscuit. All competitors had to use Maggi ingredients; the competition is sponsored by Maggi Professional from Nestlé Professional.
Goulston has been a school chef for five years and works as mobile cook manager for Hertfordshire Catering Limited, based at Peartree Spring Primary School in Stevenage, serving 300-500 meals a day for nursery and primary school pupils. He has 29 years’ experience within the catering industry in restaurants and later in corporate and private school catering.
“I am so proud to have won the national title,” he said. “With the standard and skill level among this year’s finalists being so high, I felt it was an achievement in itself just getting through to the national final, let alone being able to compete with such a talented group of people. All of this just goes to prove what a good job school chef’s do, day in, day out, up and down the country in providing tasty, nutritious meals for millions of children.”
LACA chair Tim Blowers added: “My congratulations go to Michael Goulston. His success in taking the national title is a major achievement given the exceptional culinary skills shown by all of this year’s competitors. LACA School Chef of the Year is an excellent way of showing why all schools nationwide should be striving for a high quality school meals service. It’s a snapshot of the passion and expertise of today’s school chefs and of the commitment and professionalism they put into producing high quality meals every single day in schools across the country.”
Justyna Rutkowska from Warrington came in second in SCOTY 2018 and Abdul Mahdoul from Newcastle-upon-Tyne came in third.