YOUNG chefs from eight schools took part in the Northern Ireland regional finals of the UK Future Chef Competition, the premier UK-wide competition to raise the profile of budding young chefs aged 12-16. The pupils came through rigorous local heats to compete in finals which were hosted by the South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Downpatrick Campus.
The finalists had to prepare and cook a hot main course and a hot or cold dessert for two with the budget a meagre £8.00. They also had to provide a full costing and a time plan for their meals.
Wellington College pupil, Christopher Marshall served up an ace when he secured top place and entry to the finals of the UK FutureChef Competition. Christopher, whose professional mentor was Johnnie Leake from The Merchant Hotel, prepared Slow Cooked Lamb with baby gem fricassee followed by Cherry and Almond tart with vanilla anglaise.
He was presented with his award by Education Minister Caitríona Ruane who commented, “I want to congratulate everyone involved in FutureChef. I have been impressed by the standard of cooking here and thoroughly enjoyed sampling the end result. Programmes such as these are vital in helping children and young people to discover the joys of cooking. They also enable them to gain valuable skills that will stand them in good stead in the future while opening up the possibility of new and exciting career paths within the hospitality sector.”
Head judge Noel McMeel of Lough Erne Resort and Spa, said, “On behalf of myself and my fellow judges, it has been a privilege for us to be involved in FutureChef. It is an excellent forum for the young people to showcase the high standard of food that they produce – it was extremely difficult to make a final decision. The food prepared by Christopher was of a particularly high standard and I am sure that he will be a front runner when he competes in London.”
This is the 11th Anniversary of Future Chef and the overall prize reflects this, Christopher will compete against his counterparts from the other regions in the UK on 21st of March in London for an array of prizes and an all-expenses paid trip to London for the Gala Dinner and the opportunity to meet nationally renowned chefs Michael Caines, Brian Turner and Lesley Watters.