Tracy hopes to cook up a storm in Chef of the Year event

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A Dewsbury dinner lady is on a quest to be crowned queen of the school kitchen.

Tracy Healy is in the running for the School Chef of the Year award after winning two heats thanks to her expert culinary skills.

Now Tracy, who works at Ravensthorpe Junior School, is poised to take on her biggest challenge yet.

On Thursday, March 2, she competes against nine other chefs from up and down the country at the showpiece event in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Tracy, 41, is so committed to preparing for the final that our conversation took place over the phone during a rare break away from her kitchen.

She decided to practise her menu whilst in school - during half-term.

“I was quite shocked when I won the regional finals,” she said.

“I’m going down there on the Wednesday.

“For the final we have to use the same ingredients and dishes that have got us there, so it’s just a case of tweaking certain things.”

Tracy says that operating in Kirklees gives her and other chefs a lot more freedom as they are able to plan menus to cater for their diverse population.

Her speciality that has seen her reach the final is lamb kofta with coconut rice, flatbread and a mint salad for her main - “posh meatballs, essentially,” she quips.

When quizzed on what victory in the final would mean, Tracy said: “It’s still sinking in that it’s all to come.

“I just have to do it all over again.

“I started in the kitchen by just coming in during school hours.

“I then progressed to being a chef and a supervisor so I have a true passion for food.

“I believe in good food and fresh food.”