A Vale of Glamorgan school chef has been named as the 'School Cook of the Year.'

Dee Karakus, representing Big Fresh Catering Company, emerged victorious in a cook-off at the Welsh School Cook of the Year (SCOTY) regional final.

Ms Karakus, who whips up meals at Cogan Primary School, squared off against culinary competitors from Chartwells Catering in Newport and her fellow Big Fresh colleague, Tracey Smart of Palmerston Primary.

The contest, organised by the Local Authority Catering Association (LACA), aims to highlight the crucial role of delicious, high-quality meals in schools.

The final challenge required the use of one Bisto product in the main course and one Premier Foods component in dessert.

Ms Karakus stunned the judges with her delightful lentil lasagne, laden with Mediterranean flavours and accompanied by garlic bread, and a serving of beetroots and greens.

Her dessert, a Turkish Delight-inspired carrot ball dessert with custard, sealed the deal.

Carole Tyley, managing director of Big Fresh Catering Company, expressed her pride over Ms Karakus' accomplishment.

Ms Tyley said: "We are so proud of both Dee and Tracey for representing Big Fresh and the Vale in the Welsh SCOTY final."

Complimenting MsKarakus's culinary prowess, she added: "Congratulations to Dee for creating some outstanding school food that blew the judges away winning her the spot in the regional finals where she will have another amazing opportunity to display her culinary skills."

Following her win in Wales, Ms Karakus is now poised to go head-to-head with 10 other regional champions in the national final early in July.

Ms Tyley also wished Ms Karakus success in the final round.

Big Fresh, a Local Authority Trading Company, operates across Vale of Glamorgan schools and the wider hospitality sector, with profits being reinvested into schools.

More on Big Fresh is available on their website.