The Reg Johnson - Young Chef Schools Competition

How to apply

Make your application by completing the form below - only teams of two can enter.


2018 Winner's Nabil Hamzah and Waseem Iqbal from Blackburn Central High School.

How the competition works

Stage 1: Application

Submit the application form at the bottom of this page and answer the following:

If you were to create a one course, healthy chicken dish which must include local produce including at least two fresh vegetables and rapeseed oil, what would it be and why? Include how we can improve food waste to help with a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to food (250 words max).

Stage 2: Regional Heats

Regional Heats will be held at Blackburn College and Blackpool and Flyde College on Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th April 2020.

Students will be asked to create their chicken dish in 2 hours. The following ingredients will be supplied:

  • Chicken
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Flour
  • Fresh chicken stock
  • and vegetable stock

All other ingredients will need to be supplied by the candidates themselves but the costs can be reimbursed. All competitors will receive a Young Chef branded apron.

If you are successful in going onto stage 3 (the Finals), you will be asked to tell us in 200-400 words how you feel we can improve waste and what effect it has on our planet.

Stage 3: Finals

8 winning teams will go through to the finals, which will be held at Blackburn College on Monday 11th May 2020. Students will create a 2 course meal in 2 hours with the main course consisting of duck. Parents and representatives from the schools will be able to watch their teams through a live feed in the Scholars Restaurant.

Successful candidates who go through to the finals will be invited to go to the local market with the chefs and choose their ingredients. This will be filmed on the day and form part of the final Young Chef Competition video.

Who is eligible?

The competition is aimed at students in year  9, however year 8 students applying will also be able to take part and enter.

Students can apply to cook in teams of 2 (schools can submit as many entries as they would like).

What will you win?

Schools who win their Regional Heat will win continuing professional development sessions for staff organised by Nigel Haworth and Paul Heathcote MBE. Heat winners will receive a branded chef's jacket and an Obsession cook book signed by Nigel Haworth.


1st prize: Dinner for 6 and Cookery School Demonstration at Northcote, "Chefs for the Day" experience at Lu Ban, plus pans and cook book

2nd prize: Dinner for 4 at the White Swan, plus cooking equipment, and a cook book by a prestigious chef

3rd prize: Dinner for 2 at the Northern Restaurant and Bar, plus cook book by a prestigious chef


The winner will receive a trophy to keep and the winning school will receive The Reg Johnson School Young Chef Competition Trophy. The winning school will also receive an item of catering equipment.

Why get involved?


  • Inspire students to discover the Hospitality industry and learn new skills
  • A good opportunity to generate publicity for your school and develop links with award winning chefs
  • All heat winning schools will receive a quarterly Continuous Professional Development offer for staff with either Nigel Haworth or Paul Heathcote MBE• The winning school will receive a piece of catering equipment and a trophy
  • This is a great opportunity to evidence that pupils have had opportunities for encounters with both employers and Further Education providers (Gatsby benchmarks 5 and 7)


  • Learn from amazing professional chefs
  • Develop invaluable cooking skills
  • Fantastic experience to include on your CV and job applications
  • Discover which careers are available in the Hospitality industry
  • All heat winners will receive a signed photograph

Who was Reg Johnson?

Reg Johnson

Reg Johnson was known as ‘the poultry legend’ and put the village of Goosnargh on the map, thanks to his Goosnargh corn-fed chicken and Goosnargh duck.

Reg founded Johnson and Swarbrick in 1985, who are now one of the UKs Top Producers providing Poultry to Hix Restaurants, Northcote and many Michelin starred restaurants.

The Reg Johnson Young Chef Schools Competition has been developed to celebrate the enthusiasm that Reg had for encouraging innovation and developing young inspiring talent within the catering industry.

Applications must be received by
Wednesday 4th March 2020

Young Chef Competition 2018

Watch our video - Nigel Haworth & Paul Heathcote talk about the competition and the reason behind it.

Application form


Any fields marked with (*) are required.