Northamptonshire dinner lady bids to hold onto her 'school chef of the year' crown
Sara Franklin who has worked at Campion School for more than two decades will compete in the competition on Thursday (January 9).
A Northamptonshire school cook is preparing to compete in the School Chef of the Year competition once again.
Reigning regional champion, Sara Franklin, will take on two other school chefs at the Lead Association in Catering (LACA)'s competition in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire on Thursday (January 9).
Under the scrutiny of a panel of judges, all three finalists will have to prepare, cook and present four portions of a two course meal suitable for 11-year-olds at a primary or secondary school.
The competitors will have only 90 minutes to complete the task and must spend no more than £1.30 per meal, including dessert.
Sara, who fought off other regional chefs last year to be crowned the East Midlands' School Chef of the Year, has worked at Campion School in Bugbrooke, where she also lives, for the last 22 years.
But the reigning champion is feeling the pressure this year.
The 49-year-old said: "I'm really excited to be back in the competition.
"There's a bit more pressure this year after I won the regional competition last year, but I'm really passionate about cooking."
This year Sara will be serving a chicken fajita tart with roasted sweet potato wedges and a coriander and lime slaw.
Dessert will be a strawberry and lemon bundt cake served with custard.
Sara added: "The most stressful part is devising your menu, not the cooking side. It has to be school compliant and within the costing for the main meal and dessert.
"I cook tarts at school for those students who have a lunch time activity but want a main meal. With tarts they can come in and take it in a napkin to their activity."
Ahead of her big day Sara thanked her colleagues and managers for all their support.
She also said she would let The Northampton Chronicle and Echo know the result of the competition.