Competition heats up in hunt for top young chef

SW Junior Chef of the Year competition winner Melissa Johnson

SW Junior Chef of the Year competition winner Melissa Johnson - Credit: Archant

Cooking enthusiasts have an exciting opportunity to prove their culinary skills as the hunt for the South West Junior Chef of the Year gets under way.

The junior category of the prestigious competition is exclusively for 11- to 16-year-olds who are still at school and provides an opportunity for budding chefs to experience cooking in a professional kitchen.

Last year’s winner, Melissa Johnson, of Ottery St Mary, said she would recommend it to anyone who was passionate about cooking. “You get to meet amazing chefs and learn so much about the industry,” she said.

“My advice would be to have a go and, if you’re lucky enough to win, then take up the opportunities of work experience and demonstrations because they are brilliant.”

Anyone interested in entering is asked to submit a recipe for a main course to feed two people, including the cooking method in full and a photograph of the finished dish.

The competition aims to focus on South West produce, with entrants asked to source their ingredients principally from the West Country.

All recipes submitted will be judged by professional chefs. Those selected to go through to the second round will be invited to cook-offs held at county level.

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The final will be held on Saturday, October 10, at Ashburton Cookery School, Devon.

Michael Caines, a judge and co-founder of the competition, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for young people who love to cook.

“The chance to meet fellow cooking enthusiasts and be mentored by a professional chef is fantastic for boosting skill and confidence.

“This industry is very competitive, but I am always delighted with the standard coming through.”

Entries can be submitted via an online form which is available at: Entry to the junior category closes on Friday, July 31, 2015.

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