A West Yorkshire school chef has won the prestigious Cook of the Year title at the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards.
Tony Mulgrew, the catering manager at Ravenscliffe High School and Sports College in Halifax, was presented with his award by campaigning chef Jamie Oliver.
Meanwhile Raymond Blanc, one of the award judges, described Mr Mulgrew as “an amazing school cook who is changing so many young lives through food”.
Mr Mulgrew, a former army chef who took charge of catering at Ravenscliffe two years ago, cooks 150 lunches a day for pupils and staff. He is supported by a team of four kitchen staff.
He starts work at 7:30am and prepares three-course school dinners from scratch for between 80p and £1 a head, using fresh ingredients and locally sourced, organic meat.
When SecEd spoke to him he had just finished serving luxury fish pie with herby mash and lentil bolognaise with wholemeal pasta.
As well as dishing up mouth-watering food to pupils at the 11 to 19 secondary special school, Mr Mulgrew and his four-strong team have set up a training kitchen to give youngsters the opportunity to learn catering and hospitality skills.
Mr Mulgrew is a leading figure in the Food for Life Partnership, a network of schools committed to transforming food culture. He has also helped Ravenscliffe to achieve the Food for Life Partnership gold award, one of only 19 schools in the country to do so. Mr Mulgrew, who does all the cooking at home too, is always on the look out for new ideas for school dinners.
On the train to Bristol, where the awards ceremony was held, he was busy working on September’s menus and he is already planning his own version of salmon in freshly cooked flatbread, a recipe devised by the winner of the best street food category. “It’s very humbling to win this award,” he told SecEd. “It’s such a privilege, not just for myself and my team, but for the school as a whole.” CAPTION: Winner: (from top) School chef Tony Mulgrew after winning his award, at the ceremony with television chef Jamie Oliver, and with his four catering colleagues from Ravenscliffe High School