Young Chefs Wow Celebrity Judges in Thrilling Final

Young Chefs Wow Celebrity Judges in Thrilling Final

Young chefs from across Lancashire have basted and baked their way to culinary perfection in the final of the Reg Johnson Young Chef Schools Competition, held at Blackburn College.

Ruby Williams and Katie Weekes from Highfield Leadership Academy were crowned the overall winners of the competition.

Jayden Shallcross and Callum Wynn from Carr Hill High School came in second and Scott Daniels and Jayden Diale from Accrington Academy came third.

Held in memory of the late poultry farmer Reg Johnson, the competition was judged by celebrity chefs Nigel Haworth, Paul Heathcote MBE and Mike Mounfield; continuing Reg’s passion for encouraging young talent within the sector.

Following the Regional Heats at Blackburn College and Blackpool and The Fylde College; 15 pupils assembled in Blackburn College’s training kitchens to cook in front of the three esteemed chefs.

Nigel Haworth said: “This year was the best ever – with pupils from schools across Lancashire creating a great mix of dishes. It just keeps getting better and better.”

Mike Mounfield added: “It was a great competition, with an array of skills on show from young and talented, up-and-coming chefs.”

The winning team prepared stuffed chicken with rhubarb jam and goats cheese, wrapped in pancetta with fondant potatoes, vine tomatoes and wilted spinach. This was followed by a deconstructed rhubarb trifle for dessert.

Ruby Williams, one half of the winning team said: “We are really proud we won, as we really didn’t think we would.”

“It was nice to have our hard work recognised – as we practiced our dishes seven times before the competition!”

Paul Heathcote MBE said: “We were so impressed with the standard of cooking and professionalism shown by the pupils.

“I know that Reg would have been really proud of what has been achieved. He would also have been delighted to see the enthusiasm and passion the pupils have for food.”

The Reg Johnson Young Chef Schools Competition is in its second iteration following a highly-successful inaugural year.

Gill Piper, Student Experience Manager at Blackburn College said: “Congratulations to the winners and participants for creating truly exceptional dishes.

“I would also like to thank all our sponsors including the Reg Johnson Foundation, Johnson and Swarbrick, Northcote, Heathcote and Co, Hive Business School, Ribble Farm Fare, Brentwood Uniforms, Sousvide Tools and Wedgwood.

“A special thank you goes out to Future U – as without them, the competition would not have been possible.

“We envisage the competition will continue to grow from strength-to-strength across the North West.”

The winners received a range of prizes including a trophy, an Obsession cookbook signed by Nigel Haworth, dinner at Northcote and a cookery demonstration courtesy of Northcote Executive Chef Lisa Allen.

The winning dish will also be featured at Café Northcote as part of the National Festival of Making. Highfield Academy – the winning school – also received a piece of catering equipment.

9 May 2019, 13:53 PM