Students donned their aprons and turned up the heat in a bid to be crowned the winners of City College’s Young Chef Team Challenge.
For over a decade the annual cooking competition has pit local secondary schools against one another in a battle of culinary skill, and this year Plymouth High School for Girls took home the title.
The teams of three had two hours to prepare, cook and serve a three-course meal to wow local chefs and a special guest judge. Members of the Devon Chefs Club, Ben Palmer, Head Chef at the Greedy Goose, and Dave Jenkins, Head Chef at Rock Salt teamed up with Plymouth Albion Coach, Kieran Hallett to form the judging panel.
This year the budding chefs were supplied with three ingredients – mackerel, chicken and dark chocolate – and had to plan a three-course dishes around these items. The menus had to reflect the healthy, high energy requirements of a Plymouth Albion player.
Plymouth High School for Girls knocked five-time champions Devonport High School for Girls off the top spot with their winning dishes of chargrilled mackerel with sweet and sour beetroot; chicken in a creamy sauce, served with fresh pasta and vegetables and chocolate fondant with caramel sauce and pouring cream.
Chaz Talbot, Academy Manager of Hospitality and Care at the College, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for any budding chefs to get some hands-on experience in a real life restaurant environment.
“Each year the standards rise and the young chefs produce high quality food, showing plenty of culinary skills. Congratulations to Plymouth High School for Girls for a well-deserved win.”
Ben Palmer, Head Chef at the Greedy Goose, commented: “The competition has been fantastic. The students have shown good technique, good skills and produced great flavours. I am pleasantly surprised by the balance and quality of dishes produced by the young chefs. Well done to the girls – the standard of technique was incredibly high and from a kitchen point of view highly technical – their starter was a stand-out dish.”
Speaking to the winners they said: We were so surprised to win! We have really enjoyed the day and would definitely come back next year.”
City College offers a range of courses for aspiring chefs from its after school Junior Academy for 14 to 16 year olds to full and part-time programmes and Apprenticeships. Those interested in taking the next steps towards a culinary career can find at more at the College’s Open Day, which is being held on Saturday 28 April, 10.00am to 1.00pm, at Kings Road.