The McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition, which helps children build their confidence through cookery, is returning for its sixth year. This year, the competition is working with charity Birmingham Mind.
For this year’s competition, schools can enter a team of up to three enthusiastic seven to 11-year olds. The winning team will take home £1,000 worth of equipment for their school kitchen, whilst each of the four runners up will win £250 worth of equipment.
The competition theme will focus on local produce, encouraging schools to source an ingredient within a 30-mile radius of their school for their McDougalls recipes – helping children learn more about where their food comes from.
“The competition is the highlight of our calendar and proves such an important cause,” says Mark Taylor, customer controller at Premier Foods. “It encourages schools and its pupils to brush up on their cookery skills and knowledge as well as highlighting the importance of sourcing local produce and learning where food comes from and how it is produced.
“Following the massive success of the inaugural session last year, Birmingham Mind, the local branch of the mental health charity, will also be hosting a mindfulness workshop ahead of the live cook off for all of the finalists, helping pupils to relax and boosting their confidence before the showdown,” adds Taylor. “It’s the perfect extension of our employee-selected corporate charity partnership with Mind. Most importantly, the competition is a brilliant and fun experience for all those involved, and we encourage schools to come forward to enter and take part in what is a really great day.”
Schools can register their interest at premierfoodservice.co.uk and will receive a McDougalls toolkit within seven days, which will include product samples, an application form and recipe inspiration. Teams will be asked to create either a sweet or savoury recipe, which includes one local ingredient and one McDougalls Flour Based Mix for submission.
“We loved being a part of the competition and we felt so lucky to have won,” Holly Charnock, school chef at Woodlands Primary School, 2019 winner, says. “The dishes the other schools created were incredible. Our team of children had so much fun making the edible Woodlands Garden and each child was responsible for a specific area of our baked masterpiece and showed off the skills they had learnt. I really saw a difference in their confidence from the beginning of the competition until the end, both in the cooking techniques used and their personalities. The Birmingham Mind workshop beforehand was a great distraction for the pupils ahead of the cook-off and taught them some amazing calming techniques which I feel really helped.
“We’ve used the winning prize money to set up a weekly cookery club and the whole school can get involved in making a weekly recipe,” Charnock adds. “The cookery club has allowed us to carry on teaching our pupils where food comes from and how to put different ingredients together to create a delicious dish.”
Registration for the competition closes on Friday 3rd April 2020 at 5pm. Once successfully registered, recipes will need to be submitted by Friday 15th May 2020 at 5pm. The live final will take place at LACA The Main Event on Thursday 9th July 2020.