As Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall's competition inviting schools to create a special menu for The Queen approaches its grand finale at Buckingham Palace in June, the first round of judging has taken place. 16 schools have been selected from over 200 entries to go through to the next round where their menus will be judged by Mark Flanagan, Royal Chef at Buckingham Palace. The top four winning schools will be invited to Buckingham Palace in June to see their recipes prepared by the Royal Chef and will help serve them at a special reception attended by The Queen and The Duchess of Cornwall.
‘Cook for The Queen’ is the idea of The Duchess of Cornwall and is her special tribute to The Queen for the Diamond Jubilee. As part of British Food Fortnight, the national celebration of food that The Duchess supports, schools across the country have been invited to create a special menu for The Queen that celebrates the food produced in their part of the country.
208 schools entered from across the UK, from the tip of Cornwall in the South to the Shetland Isles in the North. The competition has inspired a huge variety of activities, many running throughout the spring term. There have been class visits to local producers, hotels and farms to learn more about food produced near the school; endless cooking and tasting sessions; competitions between pupils along the lines of Masterchef to select the menu to be submitted as the school's entry with taste panels made up of parents and teachers; and Diamond Jubilee tea parties attended by grannies, parents, members of the local community, producers, Lord Lieutenants and MPs, many of whom have been invited to taste the children's menus. Lots of schools are planning to serve their menus at their school's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June. Local producers have supported the competition in force, many donating ingredients to schools to assist their entries.
A huge amount of thought has gone into the menus: schools have done lots of research tracing the royal heritage of certain dishes, exploring what sorts of foods the Royal Family has eaten throughout history and learning how to incorporate local foods in their dishes. Some menus commemorate particular moments or places in The Queen's life, for example, The Balmoral Menu and tartlets shaped like boats to commemorate Royal Yacht Britannia. Others follow nursery rhymes such as ‘All the Kings Horses’ or ‘Sing a song of sixpence’. Children paid tribute to The Queen's favourite pets with Corgi Pup Cakes. And many of the dishes are regally with diamond shapes, biscuits using E and R shaped cutters and Union Jack colouring.
Four criteria were used to select the 16 finalists: the amount of class work and extra-curricula research; the use of local produce; whether the menu is truly fit for The Queen; and the incorporation of ‘Cook for The Queen’ into the school's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The 16 finalists are: Ashcombe Primary School from Weston-super-Mare, Barnby Road Academy from Newark, Brae High School from Shetland, Cape Cornwall School near Penzance, Dedham CE Primary School from Colchester, Carr's Glen Primary School from Belfast, Eton End School from Datchet, Gresham's Prep School from Holt in Norfolk, Highfield School (special needs) from Wakefield, Latimer Arts College near Kettering, Longhill High School from Brighton, Pencombe Primary School from Hereford, Roos Church of England Primary School from Hull, St Columba's Primary School from Oban, Sun Hill Junior School from Winchester, Eastington Primary School from Gloucestershire. [Details of their suggested menus for The Queen and the activities they undertook to create them are on this link].
The excitement of schools taking part is summed up by Miss McKenna, Primary 7 Teacher at St Columba's Primary School, Oban who said: “The preparation for this competition has grown much bigger than I ever initially planned as the children became so engaged and motivated to learn more and cook increasingly elaborate dishes. It has been a joy to watch the children cooking together and as a result, start cooking at home using local ingredients and spend time coming up with innovative ways to ensure our menu was fit for The Queen! The children's dedication to this competition was in no doubt in my mind when they volunteered to stay in at lunchtime and clean the windows to make sure the room was ‘perfect’ for our Tea Party guests! It has been a great experience for all involved.”
The four winning schools who will be invited to Buckingham Palace will be announced week commencing 21 May. For further information about Cook for The Queen, see www.lovebritishfood.co.uk.
Notes to Editors:
For further information on the 16 finalists, and for supporting photography or menus, please contact the organisers, Alexia and Danielle, on T: 020 7840 9292 E:
For further information on Cook for The Queen, please see the special ‘Cook for The Queen’ section on www.lovebritishfood.co.uk where you will also find fascinating facts about the types of food served to our Royal Family through the ages, the stories behind famous royal dishes, the history of the kitchens at Buckingham Palace and examples of menus served at spectacular state occasions.
Details of the 16 finalists are on http://www.lovebritishfood.co.uk/about-british-food-fortnight/cook-for-the-queen/cook-for-the-queen-16-finalists/].
WHAT IS BRITISH FOOD FORTNIGHT? Traditionally held in the Autumn and now in its 11th year the dates of this year's event have been changed, for one year only, to run during the Olympics under the title 'Love British Food 2012'. Patriotic food promotions are planned in 40,000 shops, pubs and restaurants and Family Feasts are being organised across the country as part of the London 2012 Festival.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has long been a supporter of the event's educational programme which invites schools to teach young people about food during the national food promotion and to take part in it's annual school competition.
Love British Food 2012 is sponsored by ARAMARK and is supported by a large family of organisations.
For further information about Love British Food 2012 please visit: [this link]