FROM fragrant squid and tiger prawn stew to squash and feta frittata, these dishes could grace the tables of a fine-dining restaurant.

The mouthwatering menu choices are in fact from St Helen and St Katharine school, which won high praise at a prestigious ceremony.

High-society magazine Tatler named the private school in Abingdon 'best for food' at its annual school awards last week.

A far cry from the greyish slop some people remember from childhood, judges were impressed by the delicacies dreamt up by the school's executive chef Olivier Hubert.

Mr Hubert, who completed a six-month catering adventure in the Antarctic earlier this year, said: "This award has come out of the blue. It was an adjustment coming back after the expedition, but St Helen's is a fantastic school where everybody is given a real chance to thrive."

The chef was part of the catering team for the Halley VI Research Station during his sabbatical for the British Antarctic Survey, which began last November.

He planted the school's flag at the South Pole and later featured in a BBC Horizon documentary about the trip.

Mr Hubert said the Tatler award was the 'cherry on top of the cake' following his adventure among the icebergs.

The magazine presented awards for six key categories at its 14th school awards.

Andrew Nott of St Hugh's School near Faringdon was named a runner-up for 'best head of a prep school', but St Helen's was the only Oxfordshire winner.

The school's headmistress Rebecca Dougall said: "School food is an opportunity to shape health, performance and wellbeing of students. As a school, we take our responsibility of promoting healthy choices very seriously.

"Chef Olivier is known for his delicious food which makes eating well a daily joy. We are delighted that the hard work of our catering team has been recognised."

The all-girls day school in Faringdon Road provides pupils with a choice of five hot dishes at lunchtime, including at least one vegetarian option.

Last week dishes included slow-roasted duck leg, gnocchi in a tomato and basil sauce and Japanese pork, shiitake mushroom and noodle curry.

Girls can follow their savory course with something sweet including fruit, a hot dessert or a treat from the cake counter.

Tatler handed out awards at a ceremony on Monday last week at The Landmark London hotel, ahead of the publication of the magazine's 2018 Schools Guide.