A NURSERY chef enlisted the help of of his young charges to reach the final of a national 'Scrumptious Starters and Delicious Deserts' competition.

Jimmy Trewartha from Busy Bees nursery in Guiseley has been announced as one of just 16 finalists in the contest which is being held across all of the group's 238 nurseries in the UK.

Jimmy, who has worked at the nursery since December, created a Raspberry and Coconut Custard Tart, with the help of youngsters there.

The 22-year-old, whose three-year-old daughter Elise-May attends the nursery, said: "We went through the list of ingredients and decided that a pastry dish would be the best to go for as it can be scaled up or down easily in a kitchen. The children then tasted some of the foods we could use, and decided they liked the raspberries because they were sweet. They also loved the taste of the coconut – so using these ingredients this is what I created with the help of Sandra Falkowski who also works alongside me in the kitchen. The children just love the dish and we all hope it is the winner."

Last year, the chefs were challenged to create a healthy soup to incorporate fresh vegetables into the children’s daily diets, whilst also giving them a tasty, warming and hearty meal. The winning Roast Carrot and Cauliflower Soup served with Beetroot Bread was devoured by more than 20,000 children at every Busy Bees nursery throughout the winter.

This years chefs were given an array of ingredients to use, including mackerel, turkey and zucchini for the starters, and a variety of fruits and coconut for desserts, and then challenged to create a fabulous dish with the help of the nursery children.

Jimmy beat over fifty other entrants in the region to make it through to the final which is taking place in Halifax today (Thursday, July 17.)

Jane Sixsmith, Director of Focus on Food and one of the judges for the final in the North, said: "Young children can be engaged from a very early age in an understanding of health and nutrition and this starts with what they are eating in nursery and at home. We have worked with children as young as four on practical cooking skills."

The nursery group has just been awarded the prestigious Silver Food For Life Award by the Soil Association for serving fresh and healthy meals, supporting local food producers and serving food that is good for the environment.