Students at Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School, Upminster, take part in focaccia bake-off

Sixth-formers at an Upminster school went head-to-head during an Italian-themed baking lesson.

The Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School students got stuck into bread-making during a visit from baking suppliers Zeelandia.

Taking inspiration from TV’s Great British Bake-Off, Zeelandia pitted the food technology A-level students against each other to see who could produce the finest focaccia.

Zeelandia’s Andy Taylor said: “The idea was to get bright, motivated young people interested in careers in the food industry, as well as teaching them about baking and ingredients. But it wouldn’t exactly have captured their imaginations to limit the session to a discussion about jobs in the food industry, so instead we had a bread and focaccia making session which involved a ‘bake off’ style competition.”

Food technology teacher Ms Trohear said: “The students are better informed about food, nutrition and the art and science of cooking than other young people of their age, but they’re not necessarily aware of the great career opportunities in the food sector, let alone the food ingredient sector.

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“So having industry experts come in to the school and share their knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm was very inspiring for them. The session on baking covered science elements needed for A-level and, of course, they enjoyed the “bake-off” competition enormously.”

The budding bakers used dough provided by the company, but kneaded, shaped and decorated the breads themselves. Emily Foley produced the winning entry with her tomato-topped treat.

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