Cleverchefs Group chef Paul Harris secures place at School Chef of the Year national final

Cleverchefs Group chef Paul Harris has been named the South West School Chef of the Year at the annual LACA The School Food People regional awards.

The award win means that Paul will now advance to the national final at the LACA Main Event in Brimingham in July.

The LACA School Chef of the Year contest invites chefs from around the UK to produce nutritious, delicious meals for 11-year-old primary or secondary school pupils, demonstrating what they do best every day.

During the South West regional final Paul, 53, from Warminster, had 90 minutes to prepare, cook and present four portions of a main course and dessert with a total food cost of £1.60 that meets the School Food Standards and Eat Well Guide.

Paul cooked miso and honey chicken with vegetable okonomiyaki and pickled carrot and coriander followed by dessert, which was a mango mousse on sponge base with a tuile and mango purée.

He said: “I’m still shocked at the win, but I enjoyed every minute of it and I can’t wait to represent Cleverchefs in the national finals in July.”

Founded in 2016 by Nick Collins, Cleverchefs is an innovative catering company, providing high-quality, nutritious food for the education, workplace and leisure sectors. Food expert Nick and his team is passionate about nurturing school performance through food and innovation and introducing young minds to good, tasty, freshly cooked food.

He said: “I’m delighted that Paul has been recognised at the LACA regional awards. Cleverchefs is more than a catering company. We are a team of passionate chefs who want to bring the best food to the table and his winning menu shows people the sort of food that we are creating for primary and secondary school children.

“What drives us every day is good food. School dinners shouldn’t be boring and tasteless. Every single item we serve sets a high standard of creativity. The dishes are fun, healthy and nutritious and we will continue to think outside the box for tasty, nutritious recipes.”

Cardiff-based Cleverchefs recently won “Contract Caterer of the Year” at this year’s Public Sector Catering Awards and has been nominated for a prestigious Catey Award 2024. The “Public Sector Caterer” Award will be awarded to the individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution to the cost sector.

It also earned a place at the most recent Wales Fast Growth 50 Awards, claiming the Fastest Growing Business-to-Business Services Firm and the Fastest Growing Cardiff Firm accolades there too.