A SUNDERLAND cook is serving up school dinners of celebrity chef standard.
Linda Redman, from Just Learning Sunderland, took first place in the national Busy Bees’ Sensational Soup competition, held at celebrity chef Marco Pierre White’s restaurant, The Carnarvon Arms in Berkshire.
Marco’s executive chef, Andrew Bennett, was one of the judges who voted Linda’s roast carrot and cauliflower soup with homemade beetroot bread the overall winner.
The competition was launched this year to all chefs at Busy Bees nurseries, to celebrate their talent and create a collection of delicious hearty soups that will appear on Busy Bees’ autumn/winter 2013 menus.
The final was held in a Masterchef-style challenge. Linda, who lives in Sunderland, said: “I’m overwhelmed, delighted, obviously.
“The competition poster came through to the nursery and we said we’d have a go.
“Winning the regional finals was a big enough shock. I didn’t expect to win the whole competition.
“I decided to create a roast carrot and cauliflower soup.
“I’m a great champion of home-grown produce and aim to use it where possible within the nursery.
“I asked the children what was their favourite vegetable, and they agreed on carrots and they love our beetroot chocolate cake, so I decided to create the beetroot bread.”
She added: “Next year, the children will have a go at growing their own carrots, cauliflowers and beetroot to help make the soup, which is a great way of showing them where vegetables come from and how they are grown.”
On top of winning £500 worth of kitchen equipment, Linda will have the pride of knowing more than 20,000 children will be tasting her soup this autumn.