What goes into a great school dinner?

Well after being named the best school chef in south east England, it's fair to say that Carshalton's Ouafa Bahloul would have a secret or two up her sleeve.

The Bandon Hill Primary School dinner lady had to get creative in the South East of England School Chef of the Year 2018 final as competitors were tasked with cooking a two course meal suitable for 11-year-olds on a budget of just £1.30.

So what was the dish so tasty Mrs Bahloul's it grabbed the judges' attention?

For the main course it was a chicken pastilla with roasted vegetable cous cous and a cucumber and tomato salad.

She followed that up with a dessert of apple and mango maiden served with a coconut sauce.

But for Mrs Bahloul, just making it to the final was good enough.

"I started as a kitchen assistant by doing a few hours," she said.

"I started cooking at a really young age, my mum used to push us to cook with her, and I found myself cooking in the kitchen.

"I thought, ‘this is what I really want to do’.

"I’ve been pushed by my manager to cook more and it has been a benefit for me, really."

She will now go on to compete against nine other regional champions in the national final in March as she hopes to be named the best school dinner lady in the country.