Cooking up a storm

The heat is on in a brand new competition organised by Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales to find the top Welsh Beef School Cook 2008.

The competition will be a test of the cooking skills and inventiveness of school cooks and will strive to further develop sustainable local procurement among Welsh local authorities. It is open to any primary and secondary school cook in Wales and requires the cook to develop and produce a balanced school meal that must consist of a main course and dessert, with the main course containing Welsh Beef.

Initially, a panel of experts will identify the best entries to go forward to a series of regional heats that will be held during May 2008. A winner will be identified from each of the regional heats to proceed to the grand final in June 2008, where the coveted title of Welsh Beef School Cook 2008 will be awarded.

The winning cook will win a family weekend holiday at one of Wales' premier hotels, with the second- and third-placed finalists receiving gift vouchers.

Gwyn Howells, HCC chief executive said: "With the Welsh Assembly Government emphasising the need to encourage the public sector to source more of their products locally and the importance of providing children with a balanced diet, this competition will provide school cooks with the opportunity to demonstrate their innovation in school meals recipe development, as well as encouraging local authorities to source local Welsh meat."

The winning cook will participate in promotional activity surrounding HCC's Welsh Beef Day in October 2008, which is aimed at encouraging sustainable development into public procurement of food and catering.

Application forms are currently being distributed to Local Authority Catering Managers and are also available by contacting HCC on 01970 625050 or by visiting www.hccmpw.org.uk