The next generation of young chefs came together to put their skills to the test as Barnfield College once again was the hosting venue for the first round of the Luton Chiltern Rotary Club Young Chef competition.
The college kitchens at New Bedford Road Campus welcomed 12 pupils from local schools in the area to take part in the competition, the Rotary Club’s youth project to drive young talent into the industry. Now in its 13th year, Young Chef encourages young people in and around the Luton area to take part in the timed competition and present their creations to a judging panel – for many, a first taste of a professional competitive environment.
One of four Rotary Clubs in the area, Luton Chiltern Rotary Club is involved in a wide range of local initiatives, activities and projects to positively impact the local community. The winner of the club’s own competition will move onto regional heats with the potential to then move onto the national final.
With just 90 minutes to prepare a main dish and dessert for two people, competitors had to combine creative culinary flair with discipline and finesse to execute their dishes on time and to the standard required before being judged. One of the two meals prepared was served to the restaurant table which was also dressed by the students to support their menu entry.
The other meal remained in the kitchen to be judged by Darren Searle, Barnfield College’s Hospitality & Catering Lecturer. On hand to support Darren with the judging and help the students in creating their dishes were a team of the college’s current Level 3 Hospitality Catering students.
After much deliberation, the student who took first prize was Guste Juskeviciute of Houghton Regis Academy, who was commended for high execution and flair delivered in her Chicken Pie with seasoned crushed potatoes and traditional Victoria Sponge with Jam. With only five marks between the winning entry and last place, all entrants were praised for the consistently high standard of dishes presented to the judges.
Hospitality and Catering lecturer Darren Searle said: “This competition is a fantastic opportunity for the younger generation to try their hand in a professional kitchen, and we’ve been blown away by the talent shown by the guests here today. The skills we’ve seen here would be a great start for further education and a future career in professional cookery.”
On behalf of sponsors and organisers of the event Rotary Club of Luton Chiltern, Mick Lord said: “We would like to thank Barnfield College and staff for their considerable help in making this event such a success. We also extend thanks to the teachers from Houghton Regis Academy, Denbigh High School and Challney Girls School who encouraged their students to take part – without their help this competition would not have taken place.”
The next stage of the competition for winner Guste will be the District Final, which will take place on Saturday 2nd February 2019 at North Herts College, Hitchin.