Felsted School's chef is inviting others to sign up after making the final of a national cooking competition.

Brenden Eades was one of 11 school chefs from across the UK who competed at the LACA School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) final.

LACA (Local Authorities Caters Association) has now opened entries for its 30th anniversary competition this year, and Brenden is urging fellow school chefs to take part.

He said: "I was initially a little apprehensive about entering a cooking competition as I’ve never done anything like this before.

Dunmow Broadcast: Brenden's mung bean and lentil dishBrenden's mung bean and lentil dish (Image: LACA)

"I’m so glad I did though, as it met all my expectations and more!  

"The competition provides a great platform to showcase your culinary skills.

"On making it to the national final, I knew I was competing against some very talented chefs, and this was a huge bonus to my own professional development.

"It was fantastic to share ideas and techniques with other chefs who work in the same kitchen environment and face similar challenges to me every single day.

"They say iron sharpens iron, and it’s true, it really does!"

At the national finals, Brenden produced a Bollywood-style mung bean and lentil dish, a bhaji rösti and crisp chapati wrap, followed by a dessert of fruit tuile with citrus jelly, cherry and ginger.

Brenden added: "As a result of entering SCOTY, I made countless new friends and industry contacts.

Dunmow Broadcast: Brenden's dessertBrenden's dessert (Image: LACA)

"I would strongly encourage any school chef who is considering entering the competition to just go for it!

"You have absolutely nothing to lose but everything to gain. And what’s more, you’ll have lots of fun along the way."

School chefs across Essex must register their interest at https://www.laca.co.uk/form/scoty-registration-form by Friday, January 26.


Brenden's dishes have now been featured in a new recipe book produced by the competition's headline sponsor Bisto, from Premier Foods Foodservice.

Created to mark the competition's 30th anniversary, the LACA School Chef of the Year recipe book showcases the talent of school chefs, including the 2023 competition winner Raheem Morgan.

The book celebrates the passion and skill of school chefs in providing nutritious and balanced meals for children.