Master chef Tanya wins national title

Tanya Watkin.
Tanya Watkin.

A kitchen manager who works in Flitwick has won the title of Chef of the Year.

Tanya Watkin, based at Woodland Middle Academy, was voted the number one school chef with her Spanish influenced dishes by a panel of judges at the national final of the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA), on Wednesday, May 21.

Tanya, a mobile kitchen manager for Eden Foodservice under contract to Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “I’ve been competing for this for six years and I’m very happy to finally win it. I kept going because I enjoyed doing it and meeting new people who were really nice.

“I’ve had a few nightmares in previous years as I once forgot to put sugar in a muffin, and last year my pudding didn’t set!

“Hard work, practice and luck helps but using different equipment in ovens you’re not used to can be a bit of a lottery.

“Last year a judge told me I should play to my strengths. My brother-in-law works as a chef in Spain so he talked me through a few Spanish dishes.”

Tanya’s dishes were a main course of Spanish Chicken Cocido – chicken, vegetable and chickpea stew with saffron, chorizo tortilla and rustic bread. Her dessert was Crema de Sant Josep – Madeleine sponge baked in citrus caramel egg custard with orange, strawberry and mint salsa.

Tanya added: “I’ve worked so hard for this for so long so I’m going to enjoy my year – I won’t be applying for Masterchef anytime soon!”