First Choice Group and MKN partner to host LACA School Chef of the Year 2022

For a second consecutive year, First Choice Group, the UK’s leading supplier of genuine OEM spare parts, accessories and consumables is partnering with leading equipment manufacturer, MKN, to host a regional heat of the prestigious LACA School Chef of the Year 2022 (SCOTY) competition.

The jewel in the crown of the education catering calendar, LACA SCOTY celebrates and recognises the passion and professionalism of school chefs from across the country. Held for more than two decades, the competition is open to all kitchen-based individuals who are involved in the daily preparation of pupils’ meals in schools across the UK.

In a new and exciting twist for 2022, competitors are tasked with creating a grab-and-go savoury snack in addition to a delicious and imaginative main meal, using at least one Quorn product (headline sponsor), in both dishes, and one Bisto (supporting sponsor) product from a list provided in either meal. This is alongside a 50% fruit-based dessert that should reflect school standards, using one Premier Foods product from a list provided.

Taking place on Thursday 19th May 2022, the West Midlands and East Midlands Regions will use the dedicated First Choice Group facilities. Attended by some of the most prominent school chefs and judged by an expert panel, the competition will be one of the most hotly contested of all the regional heats. The winner from the heat will receive a £100 cash prize and go on to compete at the national final from the 06th-07th July 2022 at LACA Main Event, Hilton Birmingham Metropole. The overall National winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize, a commemorative 2022 LACA School Chef of the Year trophy and an invitation to a calendar of catering industry events. The national second and third place winners will receive £500 and £300 respectively.

Using the restaurant and MKN kitchen at First Choice Group’s HQ in Cannock, the budding competitors will have access to the latest professional catering equipment, including the innovative technology found in MKN’s Flexichef and combi-steamer range.

The dedicated setup of First Choice Group’s conference and event facilities are ideal for hosting the LACA SCOTY regional heats, as Martin Dagnall, Head of Training Division at First Choice Training, the specialist training arm of First Choice Group explains:

“Having hosted the North West regional heats in 2021, we’re delighted to be chosen to host the West Midland and East Midlands regional heats for the LACA SCOTY 2022 competition. Those catering for pupils in the education sector are the true unsung heroes of our industry, so being able to do our bit to support them, in partnership with the team from MKN, is fantastic. From our experience in 2021, we know that the creativity and imagination of these chefs, especially given the low cost per head imposed on their menus, is fantastic. Joining forces with our exclusive manufacturer partner, MKN, we will host the regional heats on 19th May, where our unique conference and event facilities, restaurant and dedicated kitchen will provide the ideal setup to accommodate the competitors and judges alike.”

The First Choice Group HQ has been specifically designed to host everything from small groups to large scale industry events. Facilities include flexible conference and event spaces, break-out rooms, and fully operational kitchens. Located in the midlands, just off the M6 motorway, the site is easily accessible, has amble parking, restaurant facilities, and the latest technology including high-speed WiFi and multimedia connectivity.

The First Choice HQ facilities are available for bespoke hire or for regular scheduled courses, including MKN’s Flexicombi oven training. Having developed a longstanding partnership with MKN, the First Choice HQ has retained an approved status as the National Technical Training Centre, used by the manufacturer’s engineers and technicians from across the country.

To find out more about the LACA SCOTY 2022, please visit

To understand more about MKN and the range of equipment solutions in the portfolio, please visit

For more information on First Choice Group, please visit or call +44 (0)1543 577 778.