Young master chefs of the future recently put their culinary skills to the test at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) as they competed in a hard-fought cooking competition sponsored by the local Rotary Club.
On the day of the competition (Wednesday 23rd November), four nervous but excited young chefs took their places in the cookery room at the local secondary school. Their bags contained all they needed to present their dishes together with ten pounds worth of ingredients. After half an hour of free preparation time, came an hour and a half of competitive cookery before their masterpieces were scrutinised by the judges.
The competition, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bristol Aztec, followed the pattern set by the previous year’s successful contest. It presented an opportunity to plan a two course meal whilst being mindful of healthy choices, good planning, hygienic practice, and a wise use of time and money. It also provided a chance for the students to celebrate their prowess, and gain a sense of pride in their achievement.
The judges were Mike Riordan, Head Chef at the Aztec Hotel, Adrian Kirikmaa, Restaurant Manager at the City of Bristol Academy and John Kelly of South Gloucestershire Education Authority. To them fell the difficult task of assessing the students’ work and the finished results, and what results! The meals were without exception beautifully presented and tasted delicious.
The worthy winner was Abbie Pearce who, as the judges pointed out, cooked a high risk menu choice which could have gone horribly wrong but turned out to be a triumph. It required a high range of skills as Abbie made her own pasta for her prawn tortellini, her own pastry and crème patissiere for her seasonal apple tart.
After being presented with her prize of a £30 Mall voucher and a book on kitchen knife skills, a delighted Abbie said:
“It was exciting, I tried so many combinations at home but I’m pleased I chose this one.”
Adam Sullivan, one of the other competitors, said:
“It was hectic and tested a lot of skills, but I found it a very enjoyable experience and I would do it again,”
Runner-up Henry Vanderhoest added:
“The high point for me was getting it out on time and getting it to look as I wanted it to look. I managed to work in an organised way, washing up as I went, I think we could have done with an hour’s prep time.”
Leiv Rhem, commended by judges for making the healthiest choices (his main course was a dish of courgettes and prawns on a bed of rice), said:
“My greatest concern was to get it out on time; the first time I did it at home, I ended up serving it up to my parents cold! This time I was pleased it turned out better and and took a lot less time.”
Fiona Dowling, teacher of catering at BSCS, said:
“The students clearly researched their dishes well, and all showed a range of high level skill and presentation styles. This is a testament to their commitment – they clearly practised to achieve the high standard of dishes produced on the evening.”
“I am really proud of them all; they are a credit to their school, and especially to themselves.”
Competition organiser and Rotary Club member Roger Worth told The Journal he thought the overall standard of culinary skills shown in the competition had been higher than last year, despite the reduced number of competitors.
Photo 1: Young Chef contestants (L-R) Henry Vanderhoest, Abbie Pearce, Adam Sullivan and Leiv Rhem.
Photo 2: Competition winner Abbie Pearce is congratulated by Roger Werth and Susan Bamber-Powell of Bristol Aztec Rotary Club.
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