chef Ian Bevan’s mouthwatering concoctions have had pupils lining up at Churchfields Academy’s canteen ever since he took charge of the school kitchen.
And now his culinary skills and creativity will be put to the ultimate test by food industry experts at a daunting contest.
Ian will vie for the champion title at the South West School Chef Of The Year 2014 on Tuesday after being handpicked to compete in the challenge along with five other cooks from across the region.
The chefs will have just an hour and a half to prepare four portions of each dish in their two-course menu at a regional final at Plymouth’s City College.
“To be asked to compete is a privilege,” said Ian, 41, of Marlborough. “I am quite laid back at the moment but it might be different on Tuesday.
“I have done a couple of run-throughs and manage to do it all in one hour and a half. “But going down there, things will be different. I will use a different oven and equipment. There will be more pressure on the day.
“I will be making a layered chicken main with Eastern and Western influences, called East Meets West and a chocolate brownie with raspberry compote and pannacotta, with shortbread. “It’s called Wiltshire Flower Pot. I actually had to go to the garden centre to buy cactuses and use the pots for the dish. I will also place some shortbread on a plate around it to make it look like Stonehenge.”
Ian, who is employed by catering firm Pabalum, left his sous chef post at Oxford Brookes University to become executive chef at Churchfields Academy in October 2012.
As part of the challenge calories will be carefully counted by judges as will the cost of the meal which is limited to £1.60 a portion. The calorie count proved rather tricky when time came to create a dessert recipe.
The competition, organised by the Lead Association For Catering In Education, is sponsored by MAGGI from Nestlé Professional. Finalists from regional heats will go through to the national final in May.
Justin Clarke, food development chef for MAGGI at Nestlé Professional, Paul Eynon, chef and owner of The Lemon Tree Café Bistro, Jacqui Webb, of LACA, Jasmine Challis of the British Dietetic Association and Year 6 pupils from St Andrew’s Primary School in Plymouth will sit on the judging panel.