Photo Peter Adamson
The first round of judging has taken place in ‘Cook for the Queen’, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall’s competition inviting schools to create a special menu for The Queen in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee. Sixteen schools have been selected from over two hundred 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.
Two hundred and eight schools entered from across the UK and 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; ‘Masterchef’ style competitions between pupils 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.
Photo Peter Adamson
A huge amount of thought has gone into the menus. The pupils 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 sixteen 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.
You can learn more about the finalists and see their menus, by visiting
Love British Food. The sixteen 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. Congratulations and best of luck in the finals to everyone!
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, visit Love British Food.