Raheem Morgan: I used to work at The Ivy and now I'm an award-winning school chef

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School dinners have never had a reputation for being the finest cuisine but how many have been served up by a former chef from The Ivy's Chelsea restaurant?

Raheem Morgan swapped cooking for the rich and famous to making meals for lucky pupils in Torridon Primary School in South London and his talents haven't gone unnoticed.

The 29-year-old has been named 2023 School Chef of The Year after wowing judges with some mouth-watering dishes cooked specially for the competition.

They included Asian crispy fishcake with edamame bean and miso puree, served with a wasabi mayonnaise and crispy garnish.

And his dessert was a deconstructed lemon cheesecake with apple and basil gel, apple crisp, cherry compote and egg white meringue.

"Most of my background has been hotels and restaurants but once I did step away from that side and into catering it was different and takes a while to get used to - but I find it such a good industry to be in," Raheem said.

"There is so much more that goes on that no one knows about. There's a stigma that with school dinners they are not real chefs or they are different to restaurants.

"But no, they are just as talented as they are in a restaurant. Nutrition is the best part and this might be the only main meal some children eat and I find nutrition is the best way to keep them concentrated and focused and ready to learn.

"And when we provide food that can help it puts a smile on our face," he added.

Before working as a school cook Raheem with employed by acclaimed chef Tom Aikens and worked at Hotel Café Royale and Park Plaza Hotel and loved his time working at The Ivy.

After taking a year out he looked for a new job and was sent details from a school catering company and hasn't looked back since.

"The older they get, the more their taste buds develop and they're not as fussy," Raheem explained.

His love of food started when Raheem was aged 9, cooking Jamaican food with his mum before following his culinary passion through school in food tech and into hotels.

He said his mum had so many jobs he just wanted to help out, he added: "In school it got to the end of Year 11 and I was thinking what do I do now? And I thought food was something I loved, and 15 years later here I am!"

Raheem said pupils at Torridon Primary School were "over the moon" when he won the title of School Chef of The Year.

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