A PRIZE WINNING MUFFIN created by a Sunderland primary school pupil was given a professional catering twist from a head chef at Sunderland College’s Bistro today.

As part of a competition to promote last year’s national School Meals Week (13-17 November), primary school pupils in the in the city were invited to send in their recipes for the perfect muffin, along with pictures of their finished product and culinary design.

The five winning entries were then put forward to a ‘Bake Off’ style challenge held in the school kitchens at Farringdon Community Academy, with the winner chosen to feature on the menu of every primary school in the city during that week.

Winners of the challenge were then asked to bake and decorate their muffins for a panel of judges which included head chef at Sunderland College’s city campus ‘Bistro’   Kelvin Linstead, Sunderland City Council Deputy Portfolio Holder for City Council’s School Meals Services, Councillor Amy Wilson, and catering supervisors from Sunderland City Council’s School Meals Service.

The winner was Harper Scott-Cousins,8, from Richard Avenue Primary School.

As part of her prize Harper was invited into the kitchens at Sunderland College’s city centre campus, where Curriculum Leader (Hospitality) and head chef Rob Stewart helped Harper use her original Orange Choc-Chip recipe and design to recreate a professional version of her prize winning muffin to be baked, decorated and put on sale at the Bistro for staff and students to enjoy.

They were  joined in the kitchens by Councillor Wilson and Sunderland College City Centre Campus Vice Principal, Judith Quinn, to sample the prize winning muffins.

The competition was organised by Sunderland City Council’s school meals service which provides fresh, nutritious meals to more than 12,500 pupils at 81 schools across the city.

More than £3.7 million investment from the city council over recent years has provided new kitchen equipment and dining facilities across a number of schools in Sunderland.

Sunderland Council’s school meal service served in excess of 2.4 million meals in the primary schools sector in 2016/17, which is an increase of approximately 50,000 meals from the previous year.

Sunderland City Council Deputy PortfoIio Holder for City Services, Councillor Amy Wilson said: “We have invested a lot into providing schools with the best schools meals service and kitchen facilities that we can in Sunderland, and work closely with our community health partners to promote nutritional and fresh food.

“Getting young people and their families interested and involved in this process is vital if we are all to succeed, and competitions like this are a great way to capture people’s imagination.

” All the children who entered displayed great culinary knowledge and skill, and I’d like to thank Sunderland College for giving our winner Harper the opportunity to display her talents in a professional kitchen and develop her recipe and design with the head chef.”

Curriculum Leader (Hospitality) and a head chef at Sunderland College, Rob Stewart added: “Harper was brilliant today, she wasn’t phased at all about being in a busy, professional kitchen and just got on with it and was remarkable for someone of her age.

“If Harper’s skills and talents represent the future of the industry then we are all very lucky.”

Harper said: “I enjoy baking and love making up my own recipes. I also love the bake – off and wanted to be part of the competition.

“It was great learning new skills from a professional professional chef today, and exciting to be baking in a working kitchen.

” When I leave school I would like to go to college to study baking and cooking, as I would love to open my own cafe one day.”

Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Louise Farthing added: “Congratulations again to Harper and her family for her culinary achievements, and I’m sure everyone including Harper couldn’t wait to see and taste what a professional chef created using her winning recipe and design.

“We want to do everything we can to encourage children and young people in our schools to explore and demonstrate their talents, and competitions like this help to inspire their interest and continued personal development.”