South Shields school chef in heated battle for chance of competing in national final

South Tyneside school chef Craig Wressell
South Tyneside school chef Craig Wressell

A school chef from South Tyneside is aiming to serve up a coveted title and the chance to take part in a national cooking contest.

Craig Wressell will be hoping his culinary delights will tantalise the tastebuds of judges when he puts together his main meal and dessert for them to try, next week.

The 49-year-old, who works at Holy Trinity CE Academy, in South Shields will be serving up the dishes as he battles it out for the regional title of North East and Scotland School Chef of the Year.

He will be up against the clock to prepare four portions of a main course and a dessert suitable for serving to 11-year-olds in school.

The three finalists will have 90 minutes and a maximum spend of £1.30 is allowed for the cost of a single meal - one main course and dessert.

Craig has chosen a yoghurt chicken paprika swerved with braised vegetable rice, fresh Napoli sauce and flatbread - a simple sunny Mediterranean street food based chicken dish packed with vitamin A.

This will be followed by pear and vanilla creme fraiche butterscotch sponge tart served with a mango, pineapple and strawberry.

The overall winner from this regional heat will go on to represent North East and Scotland, against nine other regional champions, in the national final which is to be held in March.

Craig, who moved to the area from West Yorkshire, said: “This is my first job in this kind of environment as I’ve always worked in the private sector.

“I’m trying not to think about it too much. I’ll be doing a trial run of the menu with the children on Monday to see what they think.”