Michael Goulston is a member of the HCL Mobile team and is based at Peartree Spring Primary School in Stevenage. Not being content with winning the School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) competition last year, we are excited to confirm that our colleague has won the East of England Regional Final for this prestigious national award, for the second year running.
After months of preparation and trialling dishes on friends and family, Michael faced fierce competition on Wednesday 6th December as he prepared and cooked a main meal and a dessert suitable for 11 year old pupils, from scratch, in just 90 minutes, on a budget of just £1.30 a meal, all the while watched by the tough SCOTY judges.
Michael served up a main course of oven-baked chicken stuffed with herb mousseline (a soft light mousse) accompanied with baked potato gnocchi in a tomato sauce, broccoli and roasted carrots en papillote. He followed this with a creamy coconut cheesecake with pineapple and strawberry compote and tuile biscuit for dessert, winning him the top prize in the prestigious competition.
Talking about the competition, Michael said: “This is the second time I’ve entered the competition, but it was still a lot of pressure to deal with, even though I knew what to expect. I didn’t notice the other contestants, judges or even the cameraman taking photos because I was so focussed on what needed doing. You have 90 minutes but the time is gone before you know it.
It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s a bit surreal. It’s fantastic to be recognised for doing something you love to do. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without HCL. I’ve had brilliant support and encouragement from my manager throughout the competition.
I can’t wait for the national final in March. I know there will be some strong competition, but I’m optimistic and as long as I get everything right on the day I’m in with a good chance.”
Lin O’Brien, Chief Executive of HCL, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Michael and we at HCL are all very proud. The national School Chef of the Year competition is a great opportunity for Chefs to showcase their culinary skills and professionalism in creating new dishes that children can enjoy. We are delighted that Michael has secured a place at the national competition and we all wish him the best of luck.”
Over the coming months Michael will be perfecting his recipes in preparation for the national final on 8 March, where his dishes will be judged against those of other regional winners. Good luck Michael!