Cooking up a storm at national finals

Simon Rawle with Mayor Norma Redfearn and Valerie Stothert, unit manager at Churchill Community College.
Simon Rawle with Mayor Norma Redfearn and Valerie Stothert, unit manager at Churchill Community College.

A top school chef has been cooking up a storm in a national competition.

Simon Rawle, part of North Tyneside Council’s catering team based at Wallsend’s Churchill Community College, fought off stiff competition to finish runner-up in this year’s Big School Bake-off, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions.

A panel of judges – including Jo Wheatley, a previous winner of the BBC Bake Off – were impressed with the creativity demonstrated by all those that entered.

Simon, who was one of eight finalists, invited Mayor Norma Redfearn to try the afternoon tea he made in the final, which featured a black pepper scone with homemade blueberry jam, a Kirkpatrick tart with Anzac topping and orange madeleines.

She presented him with a trophy and certificate honouring the work that went in to his outstanding run in the competition.

Mayor Redfearn said: “We are so incredibly proud of what Simon has achieved and he really has represented North Tyneside in the best way possible.

“The afternoon tea he made was fantastic and, like all our school chefs, he does an excellent job in producing delicious and healthy meals for our borough’s young people.”

After being presented with his trophy, Simon said: “This has been an amazing experience for me and I have enjoyed creating these dishes for the competition. I am particularly pleased that my winning entry, sticky banoffee cake – from the semi-final – is now featuring on the school menu.”