School chef cooks up a prize menu
PUBLISHED: 12:49 28 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:23 31 May 2010
A SCHOOL cook beat strong competition from some of the country s leading chefs last Monday to win a national competition. Head chef at Friends School in Saffron Walden, Bobby Nanda, was awarded first place and a gold standard in the ethnic class at this
A SCHOOL cook beat strong competition from some of the country's leading chefs last Monday to win a national competition.
Head chef at Friends' School in Saffron Walden, Bobby Nanda, was awarded first place and a gold standard in the ethnic class at this year's Salon Culinaire at Excel's Hotelympia in London.
Originally from Burma, Mr Nanda, 31, now lives in Cambridge and has worked at the school for the last year. He said: "It was fantastic to compete alongside so many creative cooks and for my work to be recognised by such distinguished chefs.
"We were all under great pressure, not least because we only had 30 minutes in which to create a show-stopping dish. I'm thrilled to have won."
Competing against eight chefs in his category, Mr Nanda created a traditional Burmese dish called Mon-Hin-Gha - a fish noodle soup made using paprika, turmeric and chilli powder as well as aromatic kaffir lime leaves.
The well-nourished students at Friends' School have been lucky enough to try some of their chef's award-winning dishes. Mr Nanda has been introducing some more exotic meals onto the lunch menu.
He said: "I have been cooking more ethnic food for the students to try - mainly Thai and Asian dishes."
While many of the other chefs in the competition ply their trade in some of the top restaurants, Mr Nanda enjoys the challenge of improving the quality of food in the school canteen, as well as the more sociable working hours.
"I regularly hold theatre cooking events where I cook all the food in the dining room in front of the students," he said.
"It gives the children the chance to see all the fresh ingredients that go in to the meals and teaches them about healthy eating."
The Friends' School students held a small presentation of their own to congratulate their chef and thank him for his hard work in the canteen.
Salon Culinaire is one of the UK's largest internationally respected cooking competitions and is held every two years. Mr Nanda received the silver award when he first entered the competition in 2006.
Marketing and sales director Ian Kelland from British Pepper & Spice - the sponsors of the ethnic class - praised the high standard of cooking in the class and the culinary inspiration it provided to the crowd at the Hotelympia.