March primary school chef wows judges at School Chef of the Year 2014

Neil Hulkes.

Neil Hulkes. - Credit: Archant

A talented school chef impressed a panel of judges with his delicious dessert at a prestigious cooking competition.

Father of four Neil Hulkes, of Cavalry Primary School, March, was awarded the Highly Commended Dessert prize at the Eastern region final of School Chef of the Year 2014 in Luton.

He conjured up a coriander infused panna cotta served with fresh orange segments and raspberry coulis.

The dish was praised by judges for being “well executed, tasty and of a very high professional standard”.

The 34-year-old, who saw off 20 other chefs to win the Cambridgeshire stage, was up against chefs from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Luton in the Eastern final.


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The overall winner and Eastern region School Chef of the Year 2014 was Tanya Watkin, of Woodland Middle Academy School, Flitwick, Bedfordshire.

He said: “I was chuffed to bits when I won the Cambridgeshire stage. It was disappointing to just miss out in the Eastern final but the experience was a good learning curve and I will be back next year to put Cavalry school on the map.”

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Mr Hulkes joined Cavalry school last summer after working in hotels and restaurants.

Two of his children go to Cavalry, so he gets to cook for them both at home and work.

He said: “It was the same for me because my mother was a chef at the school I went to in Peterborough.”

Each entrant was required to produce, in just one and a half hours, a healthy balanced two-course meal that would appeal to 11 year-olds in school.

A maximum of £1.60p was allowed for the cost of a single meal for one child.

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