Ingredients of Success

Year 10 Food Technology students have been taking part in a competition run by the Heart of England school catering provider AiP.

The competition to find Young Chef of the Year 2017 was run by AiP with twelve schools participating. Each school put forward one student to compete in the final which was held at the University of Birmingham School and judged by celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, Jean-Marc Benard, Executive Chef of AiP and Morag Wilson editor of EDUcatering Magazine.

Round 2 mealsPreparations for the Young Chef of the Year event began some time ago with students working during Food Preparation and Nutrition lessons to come up with meal ideas.  They had to stick to a brief which was to produce a tasty, balanced meal within a given cost.  “We’re looking for a meal that would fit the criteria for something we could offer to the students,” explained AiP Area Manager Andrew Chapman.

After planning the meals, the students prepared the food and presented it for judging for the first round which took place in school. Suggestions for improvements to taste and cost were made and the revised meals were judged at school in a second round.

Annalise and DeeThe students cooked to impress the judges Rachel Briscoe, Food Technology teacher, Susan Willis, AiP Catering and Andrew Chapman, AiP Area Manager.

The judges agreed that the standard was high and that there were three or four dishes which stood out.  In the end is was between a tasty chicken with rice and sauce dish by Annalise or a spicy jambalaya by Dee. After much tasting and discussion, it was decided that Dee's meal would go forward to the final in April. “They both tasted beautiful,” said Andrew. “The jambalaya was outstanding.”

The finals took place at the end of April at the University of Birmingham School in an atmosphere described by Susan Willis as “every bit as intense as Masterchef!”

Dee’s jambalaya, made with chicken and spicy chorizo sausage, was a great hit during the judging. “The judges' comments reflected Dee’s good understanding of herbs and spices,” said Mrs Briscoe.  “Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe was impressed with Dee’s laid-back and calm approach to her practical work.”

Dee presenting her dish to the judgesDee meeting celebrity chef Jean-Christophe NovelliAfter an intense day and weeks of build-up, Dee did fantastically well by coming second overall.  She won a professional knife set and a set of chef whites for doing so well.

“We are so proud that Dee has done so well.  We are looking at putting the jambalaya onto the menu at school,” said Andrew Chapman.

Well done to all the students and congratulations to Dee for getting through to compete in the finals and for being runner-up in Young Chef of the Year 2017.