YOUNGSTERS at a primary school in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales are enjoying some of the best dishes in the country – and that’s official.

They are celebrating after Swaledale school cook Joanne Simpson won the regional final of the School Chef of the Year.

Joanne is the cook at Reeth Community Primary School and her victorious Yorkshire Farmer’s Plate was a combination of Wensleydale cheese and Yorkshire ham tart with tomato chutney, carrot ribbons, sweet potato mash and green beans.

The imaginative main course was then followed up by a colourful pudding called Swirl of the Dale – a rhubarb and raspberry custard roulade served with fresh raspberries.

The competition, organised by the Local Authority Caterers Association, is designed to challenge cooks to produce nutritionally balanced dishes which also appeal to youngsters.

Cooks are given 90 minutes to produce a two course meal from locally-sourced seasonal ingredients typical of their region – all at a cost of £1.50 per head.

And following her regional success Joanne will now go on to take part in the national final in May.

“I live and work in the Dales and I know what Dales children like to eat,” said Joanne, who has worked at the school for 14 years.

North Yorkshire’s executive member for schools, Arthur Barker, added: “We are thrilled that Joanne has become a regional winner.

“She is very committed to her work and skilled in producing the fresh, tasty and healthy dishes that we want to see schoolchildren enjoying.”