The contest took place at the Parcs
Restaurant at Peterborough Regional College, where two celebrity chefs and a
panel of diners awarded marks for taste, presentation, cookery skills and
First prize went to 15 year old
Stamford High School pupil Claire Wheeler, who created a mouth-watering menu of
pork fillet, spinach, feta cheese and lemon in puff pastry, with a tomato and
red onion salad, followed by lemon syllabub and almond biscuits.
"It was quite nerve wracking,
but it was fun and a good experience," said Claire, who won a 'pasta
factory' machine, a VIP lunch at London's exclusive Four Seasons restaurant, and
a tour with the Association Culinaire Francaise to see top chefs at work. Her
school received a crystal bowl trophy to display for a year and £250 sponsored
by GBS Catering and Premier Kitchens.
15 year old Ijeoma Okonkwo from
Kings School, Peterborough, took second place with her chicken main course and
dessert of carib and nut cake with orange sauce. She won a trophy and a set of
knives donated by Euro Catering.
Third prize, a stainless steel wok,
went to 14 year old Aaron Johnston of Stanground College, who wants to work as a
chef. He created a bacon and mushroom pasta bake and a tropical fruit salad in
All ten finalists won cookery books,
a meal out at a local restaurant, a gift voucher, an apron, a calculator and
pen, and the opportunity to visit Aramark's busiest kitchens in London.
The seven runners up were Annika
Bench and Fiona Bichan from Stamford High School, Emily Brown, Jenny Castle and
Hannah Matthews from Kings School, Carole Francis of Jack Hunt School and David
Gedge of St Guthlac School.
"They were all brilliant,"
said Geoff Hayward, a former student of Peterborough Regional College who now
works as a TV chef. "They were very professional in the way they organised
their work schedule."
His fellow judge Roy Macfarlaine,
head chef at the Cleyhall Hotel at Spalding and 1999 Perrier Chef of the Year,
praised Greater Peterborough Chamber for organising the Peterborough Junior Chef
competition. "It gets young people interested in our trade. They've got to
have a real love of food and not mind giving up part of their social life. They
should give it a try for a while and see, because the rewards are there."
Over 60 young people entered the
competition, which was open to all Year 10 and 11 pupils at schools in the
greater Peterborough area. Peterborough Junior Chef is run each year by the
Hospitality and Leisure Sector of the Greater Peterborough Chamber to
demonstrate the benefits of working in the industry.