A JARROW cook is aiming to be top of the class at a North East culinary competition.
Bridget McCulla, cook in charge at Jarrow School, in Field Terrace, will represent South Tyneside Council at the regional finals of LACA School Chef of the Year 2012, to be held at Gateshead College, on Monday, February 11.
Mrs McCulla, 43, an employee of the council’s catering services, studied for her City & Guilds certificate at South Tyneside College and has worked at Jarrow School for three years.
She has been involved in catering for more than 27 years, including spells at Bede’s World, Jarrow and Newcastle United Football Club, plus various restaurants, hotels and pubs.
In the regional finals, Mrs McCulla has to cook her two signature dishes, called North Meets East Fish and Chips with Two Twists as the main course, and Summer Berry Delight as dessert.
The culinary specials must be suitable for Year 6 pupils, aged 10 to 11, with the ingredients costing a maximum of £1.50 per two-course meal.
Mrs McCulla, who will have 90 minutes to cook both courses, said: “I feel really happy about reaching the regional finals of this prestigious competition.
“It’s good for the school and everyone involved, as it represents all of the hard work delivered behind the scenes by the whole team at South Tyneside Catering Services.”
Mrs McCulla said her dishes are designed to be healthy and to contribute to a well-balanced diet.
Jill Gillies, headteacher at Jarrow School, said: “At Jarrow School, we want the best education for everyone and good nutrition plays a very important part in this.
“We are very fortunate to have such an outstanding cook like Bridget.
“Healthy lifestyle choices are an important part of a child’s development, and what our students eat at school may well influence their eating habits when they are older.
“Fortunately, we enjoy an exceptional choice of tasty and nutritious meals at Jarrow School.
“Bridget is a very well-qualified and experienced cook and we are extremely proud of her achievements. We wish her every success in the regional final next month.”
On a normal school day, Mrs McCulla and her fellow catering staff at Jarrow School serve up to 400 hungry pupils.
Coun Jim Perry, a Primrose ward member with South Tyneside Council, said: “It’s a fabulous honour for Jarrow School and South Tyneside Catering Services that Bridget’s creative menu has been chosen to represent the borough at the regional finals of LACA School Chef of the Year.
“Jarrow School is an important part of South Tyneside Council’s education portfolio and does a great job serving the needs of local young people.