Isleham chef Karen cooks her way to finals of Masterchef style McCain competition

Karen Clark, chef at Isleham Primary School

Karen Clark, chef at Isleham Primary School - Credit: Archant

A cook from Isleham Primary School will take on five other chefs in a live Masterchef-style cook-off next week.

Karen Clark, who was a finalist last year, will compete in the McCain Simply One Pot Meal Competition on Thursday after her chicken, potato and spinach bake earned her the space in this year’s final.

Each cook will create their dish in front of a panel of industry expert judges, including Anne Bull, former LACA chairman and former head of catering and schools facilities services for Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council; Adele Procter, McCain development chef for education; and Judy Gardner, founder of the Eckington Manor Cookery School.

Each judge will score the one pot recipes on the basis of creativity, presentation, flavour, colour and texture.

Katrina Ellis, McCain Foods product manager, said: “It is important to pay tribute to the amount of hard work, talent and dedication that goes in to school kitchen’s across the UK.

“After the success of last year, we had an overwhelming response of innovative and creative recipes, so Karen did really well to stand out.”

Returning after a successful launch last year, the nationwide competition challenges school cooks to put their culinary imagination to the test and create their own one pot recipe. Each recipe has to be cooked in one pot and balanced with protein, vegetables and at least one product from the McCain Simply range.

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Karen made it to the final with her Chicken, Potato and Spinach Bake.

The 2016 champion will receive an all-expenses paid culinary trip for two to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ and will be invited, as a guest of McCain, to showcase their winning dish.

The final takes place at Eckington Manor, Worcestershire, where Masterchef: The Professionals winner Mark Stinchcombe is head chef.

For more information about the competition, visit