Knebworth school cook wins top prize in national culinary competition

Lisa Miles with her awards and winning cake. Picture: Kim Swain.

Lisa Miles with her awards and winning cake. Picture: Kim Swain. - Credit: Archant

A caterer at a village primary school has scooped the top prize in a national culinary competition with her colourful three-tier unicorn cake.

Lisa's winning cake. Picture: Kim Swain.

Lisa's winning cake. Picture: Kim Swain. - Credit: Archant

Lisa Miles works in the kitchens at Knebworth Primary School and took part for the first time in Finishing Touches - an annual competition which promotes culinary talent in catering in the education sector.

The talented mum-of-two won gold, Best in Class and top prize Best in Show in the Decorated Celebration Cake category for her rainbow unicorn cake.

Lisa, who lives in Stevenage, said the epic cake took "lots of hours of work, a two-hour slightly stressful car journey to Birmingham" and her "nearly dropping the balloon topper after getting out of the car".

She said: "I can't believe I won Best in Show - I am over the moon. The competition was really strong this year, with some great cakes on display. I'm absolutely delighted to have won."

David Gower, food development chef at Hertfordshire Catering Limited, which employs Lisa to work at Knebworth Primary School, said: "Lisa has an unbelievable skill set that has been self-taught after deciding to learn to make cakes so she could have fun making exactly what her daughters wanted for their birthdays each year.

"The cake itself is a masterpiece with a real fun element and some excellent precision finishing that set Lisa aside from the competition.

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"To have been awarded Best in Show is an amazing achievement by Lisa. The standard of competition is always so high, highlighting the amount of hidden talent in the education sector."

Now in its 12th year, the Finishing Touches competition is organised by the Lead Association for Catering in Education in association with the Craft Guild of Chefs. It is a culinary display competition aimed at all levels of staff employed in any aspect of local authority catering.

Also celebrating success in Hertfordshire were Katherine Bridge from Breachwood Green School, near Hitchin, who won silver awards for her cupcakes and cake for special diet, mobile cook Sean Chasney who won two bronze awards for his individual fruit tartlets and cheesecake, and Hertfordshire Catering Limited's contract supervisor, Heather McNair, who won a bronze award for her covered sponge.