Last week South West College Dungannon hosted the Springboard Future Chef competition, a competition for 12 – 16 year old UK school students to prepare and cook a two course meal with a budget of £7.
The aim of the competition is to help young people to learn to cook. It inspires them to explore food and cooking as a life skill by developing their culinary talent and informing them about entry routes into the hospitality industry.
Students from schools across the province – Banbridge Academy, Rathfriland High School, Aughnacloy College and St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon – competed in the regional heat in SWC Dungannon.
Marks are awarded on a variety of culinary skills including; creativity and presentation, menu balance, composition, taste & flavour and workmanship. Judges Susanne Chivers (Springboard), Gail Dunseath (Compass) and Jacqui Doran (SWC) were impressed with the standard of cooking.
“With each competition, it gets more and more difficult to choose a winner, but on the day the standout contestant had to be Christine Graham from Banbridge Academy for her prosciutto wrapped irish loin of cod with herbed risotto and wilted garlic spinach. For dessert Christine made a rich chocolate roulade with a filling of chocolate and pistachio ganache, chantilly cream and fresh berries which was simply divine!”
The runner-up was Stacey Robinson from Aughnacloy College who will also compete in Omagh. For her main course, Stacey made aromatic chicken with rice and peppers. For her dessert she made spiced poached pear with orange shortbread and mascarpone cream, described by the judges as “elegantly presented”.
The Northern Ireland final will be held in SWC Omagh in February with the NI winner going on to the UK final in Westminster Kingsway College London in March. The Northern Ireland winner will be up against 11 other regional winners from all over the UK.