Written by Jade Witts and Ashley Louise Devlin; Year 8.
With two of the best local chefs judging the Young Chef Competition the pressure was building as the contestants tried to finish their dishes to the best of their abilities.
The contestants were Lottie Shipp, ZaK Minett, Libby Simmons, Sarah Mitchell and Finn Howard. All the students were from Year 8 or 9.
We spoke to the head Chef Sanjay Kumar who cooks at Headland Hotel in Newquay and Rob Duncan Executive Chef of Hooked. Rob, who was returning for a second year of judging said “Some of the ingredients used are interesting ingredients that usually aren’t used in restaurants.”
Sanjay said “I hope that one day one of these young chefs will cook in my kitchen.” Sanjay has been cooking for 16 years. He decided to start cooking at the age of 16. The reason he started cooking was because he always felt hungry and with cooking he gets to taste things.
There are 4 rounds of the Young Chef Competition: a school round and a district round which are both being held at Richard Lander School. These will be followed by a regional round at Cornwall College and the Grand Final will be held in Dumfries in Scotland. Mollie Foster from the Rotary Club of Boscowan has been organising the competition for three years with Head of DT Food, Julie Ancell. Mollie Foster said “Julie does a brilliant job inspiring the young chefs to create amazing dishes.”
After the young chefs had completed their meals and dished up, they came into the DT base for an interview on how they thought they did and how they felt. Although the students found it stressful, they had also enjoyed the competition.” Zak said “My dessert was the best out of my three courses.” Lottie said “I wish I could re-do the whole thing so my mousse didn’t sink.” Libby said she was happy with her cake and spaghetti and that this was the second year that she has taken part.
The competition was judged on costing, range of skills used, taste and presentation and neatness. First prize was awarded to Finn Howard (bottom right). Second Place was awarded to Lottie Shipp (middle right). Third Prize was awarded to Sarah Mitchell (top right). What was unusual about Finn’s dishes was that they were all vegan. Finn became vegan 18 months ago and said “I have been a vegetarian for most of my life but wanted to go the extra mile for the animals. I entered Young Chef to prove to people that a Vegan meal does not just consist of rabbit food!” Finn cooked Polenta on a Bean Sprout Salad, Sliced Seitan – a meat substitute – in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Homemade Pasta and Asparagus, followed by Caramelised Banana, and Forest Fruit Surprise.
Everybody who participated got a certificate and a goody bag full of chocolate and cookery equipment from the Rotary for taking part. Finn won the chance to experience cookery master classes with Rob Duncan and Sanjay Kumar and a cash prize! He said “At the beginning I was calm and at the end I started to worry because when the judges say 10 minutes left the whole room fills with tension and everyone starts to rush around.”
Thank you to all the contestants who took part in the Young Chef and to the rotary club and Miss Ancell for organising it and Sanjay and Rob for judging.