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14 The Chronicle, Thursday, 19th November, 2009. www.chronicleseries.co.uk
Debbie’s hidden veg menu tickled judges’ taste buds
Sharon Alldread, interim head of catering, John Weeks, director of the people directorate and Mrs Worsley with her award.
A yummy chocolate and beetroot muffi n was part of the winning menu in the Cheshire East heat of the school chef of the year award.
Winner Debbie Worsley, a catering supervisor at Warmingham Primary School, School Lane, Warmingham, won with her menu themed around hidden vegetables.
As well as the tasty dessert, which also boasted a mascarpone sauce, she served cheeky chicken lasagne with a mini wholemeal, garlic, lemon and chive cottage loaf.
After the competition, she said: “I am shocked but over the moon that my menu has been chosen, especially when you consider the very high standard of all the entries.
“I am very proud to be representing Cheshire East in the regional heats in February, and hopefully in the fi nal in May.”
The annual school chef of the year competition is organised by the Local Authorities Catering Association. The contest is open to all kitchen-based staff employed y organisations that are full mem-
ers of the association and are involved with the daily preparation of school meals.
The menus must put the preparation, cooking, creativity and
resentation skills of school chefs to the test with each entrant producing, in just one and a half hours, a healthy and balanced twocourse meal that would appeal to 11-year-olds.
A maximum of £1.25 is allowed for the main meal and dessert for
At each stage of the national competition, the judging panel must comprise a professional chef, a local authority catering expert, a dietician and two junior judges, one boy and one girl, both aged 11.
Judging is based on eight strict criteria that range from fl avour and presentation to the ability to replicate the dishes en masse in school.
Coun Andrew Knowles, Cheshire East Council’s portfolio holder with responsibility for health, said: “We are very fortunate in Cheshire East in that we have highly-skilled and imaginative school chefs who are well able to compete nationally for this coveted title.
“Cheshire East has, for many years, been ahead of the game when it comes to national nutritional standards. The quality of the food served in our schools is very high indeed and this is evidenced by the continuing rise in the takeup of school meals.”
The other four entrants in the Cheshire East heat were:
● Julie Poole, Daven Primary, Congleton: highly commended main course.
● Heather Cooper, Wheelock Primary, Wheelock, Sandbach: highly commended dessert.
● Helen Simson, mobile kitchen assistant.
● Claire Duffi eld, The Marlborough Primary, Macclesfi eld.
The Lions Youth Band perform during the festival. (“Chronicle” photo. 4625/09).
Youth band measured up to the best of brass
The sound coming from Congleton Town Hall was in perfect harmony when Congleton Community Projects hosted its music festival.
Project director Bob Grayson, who helped to organise the event, said the hall was packed to full capacity for the festival on Friday, 6th November.
He said: “It was a very good event indeed. Everyone had a good time and it was an excellent opportunity to hear Fodens Brass
He added that the festival was the perfect showcase for the Lions Youth Band, saying: “Watching them alongside the professional band illustrated just how talented they actually are.”
Money raised by the non-profit organisation on the night will go towards funding its projects in Congleton, which include the running of the Christmas tree lights and parade, as well as the town’s food and garden festivals.
Red carpet for the Scouts
College reports that more fi rms see value of training
Local companies are turning to training to boost their competitive edge, according to Leek College, which reports a 36% increase in turnover for its Skillsbase service.
The service works with over 300 local employers and has trained 1,250 employees during the past year. The numbers joining apprenticeships has also doubled to over 100.
Skillsbase has also seen the number of local employees taking part in the Government-funded Train to Gain scheme more than double to 770.
Skillsbase director Graham Logan said: “We are thrilled to report such amazing growth, especially at a time when the national economy has shrunk by 5%.
“Our success is down to forward-thinking employers who appreciate that success in a turbulent and increasingly competitive world depends upon getting the very best performance and contribution from all of their employees.
“It’s brilliant that Skillsbase has played its part in boosting local companies’ turnover, productivity and profi tability; as well as improving customer satisfaction, staff motivation and job satisfaction.”
Among the local organisations Skillsbase has worked with are Belle Engineering at Sheen, Bolton Power in Froghall, Britannia Building Society, market leading courier DHL, JCB, lime and dolomite suppliers L’Hoist in Buxton, the North Staffs Primary Care Trust, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Severn Trent Water.
Ray Neilson, managing direc-
Stuart Meek, boss of Congleton Garden Machinery and his son Andrew (rear) with Skillsbase business improvement trainers Gerry Stafford and Gary Neligan who carried out on the job training at the company last spring.
tor at Belle Engineering, said his company was “very committed to the skills development of staff and Skillsbase has been second to none at providing a tailor made service right here on our doorstep”.
Chris Parrish, director o Specsavers opticians, added: “Skillsbase training has given ou staff a reignited passion for thei role as well as a signifi cant boost to morale.”
The most popular training programmes on offer from Skillsbase include leadership and management, fi nance and accounting, customer service and business administration, ICT, hospitality and catering, manufacturing, engineering, business improvement techniques, carpentry and joinery, hairdressing, health and social care, early years childcare, literacy and numeracy, communication and language skills, fi rst aid and health and safety.
Cheshire exotics in safe hands
Taking hand hygiene to the Max
The simple instruction to “wash your hands” used to stop children from spreading germs,
ut now the Health Protection Agency has stepped in with a “hand washing school awareness
Entitled “Hands up for Max” the agency said primary schools across in the area had requested 3,500 copies of the pack, which aims to teach children that “good hand hygiene” can stop the spread of coughs, colds and even swine fl u.
Prof Qutub Syed, director of the agency in the North West region said: “Washing your hands
roperly is one of the most important things you can do to
reduce the spread of infections like coughs, colds, norovirus and the fl u. Young children are at particular risk of contracting and transmitting these sorts of illnesses.”
The pack features an animated character called Max and was designed in discussion with teachers, pupils and school nurses.
Heather Hardy, healthy schools co-ordinator for the North West region, said: “We’re delighted so many schools have requested packs. We think this will be a fun and engaging way for schools to help get the message across how important hand washing is and help us improve hygiene.”
Mrs Heal and Lady Winterton join Congleton Scouts David Ambridge and Amy Longhurst on the visit.
Congleton Scouts recently met local MP Ann Winterton and deputy speaker Sylvia Heal at the annual Speaker’s reception, held especially for Scouts at the House of
Mark Eden, district commissioner for Macclesfield and Congleton, said: “The event was a fantastic opportunity to gain an insight into how the House of Commons works.
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“For many it was a once-ina-lifetime opportunity, and it was great to see how all the members of the team took a real interest on the day.”
Graham Phillips, Cheshire county commissioner, said: “For a number of years we have had a policy of using every opportunity to give young people unique experiences.
“Although this takes a lot of organising, the letters of appreciation from those attending makes it worthwhile.”
When it comes to the care of exotic pets, local animal lovers have highly qualifi ed exotic specialist veterinary surgeon Molly Varga, working at Cheshire Pet in Holmes Chapel.
She is the only vet in private practice to hold the BVetMed DZoomed (Mammalian) MRCVS qualifi cation.
Any animals not classed as companion or livestock fall under the exotic classifi cation and typically include hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits.
Molly ranks as one of the top exotic mammalian specialists in the country and is much in demand for referral cases from other veterinary practices when her expertise is needed.
She previously worked in an avian and exotic clinic in the North West and her special interest is rabbit medicine and surgery. However, her caseload can take her from treating guinea pigs and small rodents, to various species of birds and rep
tiles including recently microchipping a large 35kg Burmese python and examining a rhea ostrich!
As part of the charitable link Cheshire Pet has with Lower Moss Wood Wildlife Hospital in Ollerton, some of her work is treating wild animals and birds. She visits the hospital each week and has recently operated on a badger with a broken leg and tended to fi ve baby hoglets.
Cheshire Pet is having a bunny and guinea pig open morning on Saturday from 9am to 1pm at the Holmes Chapel surgery where visitors can meet Molly and discuss pets with her. They can also get a free health check for rabbits or guinea pigs and there will be lots of advice and goodies available.
Appointments are needed, so call Cheshire Pet in Holmes Chapel on 01477 544554 to book.