STEPHANIE Newing, a sous chef at Cokethorpe School, in Ducklington, near Witney, reached the final of the first Palmer & Howells Chef of the Year competition.

She beat three other chefs in the contest for staff working for the company, which runs the independent school's catering services, and missed out on the winner’s trophy by just one point.

The judges were impressed with her main course of Moroccan lamb and her lemon syllabub dessert.

Both dishes had to be made within a £1.50 per head budget and using a selected list of ingredients.