Hampshire Young Cooks Battle It Out With Locally Inspired Menus

Zoe Parsons and Laura Pauley from Horndean Technology College turned up the heat in the kitchen to win this year’s Hampshire final of the 2015 Create & Cook Competition.

The Hampshire cookery competition final was fought between eight young cooks aged 12-14 years at Basingstoke College of Technology (Thurs 21 May).

The brief of the competition, which is run by fit2cook food education and sponsored by The Southern Co-operative, was to create and cook a two course menu using as many Hampshire sourced ingredients as possible. The competition, which has the support of top Hampshire chefs, aims to nurture young talent and celebrate local food.

Zoe and Laura cooked a winning dish of crab tortellini with lemongrass and ginger sauce, followed by crème brulee with raspberry coulis and pistachio shortbread for desert.  Judging the cooks were Adam Fargin, Head Chef at Aviator in Farnborough, Davina Tibbetts, home economist and co-founder of the Competition, Stuart Heaton, Retail Business Manager of The Southern Co-operative store in Wickham and Min Raisman, organiser of the Competition from fit2cook.  Head chef Adam said: “Zoe and Laura’s menu was technically challenging. Their tortellini was skilfully made with local crab and the sauce was delicious.  Their culinary ambition is impressive for their age and I wish them luck at the regional final.”

Runners up Ross Reynaldo and Daniel Maley from The Costello School in Basingstoke have also won a place in the regional final. They cooked chicken with two Hampshire cheeses; Lyburn and Laverstoke Park mozzarella, with a rhubarb dessert trio of rhubarb pavlova, rhubarb and custard tart and rhubarb panna cotta made using home grown rhubarb. The other finalist duos also successfully incorporated local ingredients into their dishes; Renee Servin and Sara Cepele from Bitterne Park School, Southampton cooked home made ravioli with Laverstoke Park mozzarella, Greenfield Pork bacon and a tomato sauce, followed by lemon tart and raspberry sorbet. Isobel Dunn and Sophie Downing from Bay House School in Gosport created two dishes using their home grown vegetables; a filo vegetable pie followed by carrot and rhubarb cake.

Kate Hibbert, Local Sourcing Manager for The Southern Co-operative, said:  “The Create & Cook Competition challenges young cooks to think about sustainability and the importance of supporting local farmers and food producers through their ingredient sourcing. This goes hand in hand with our own sourcing objectives for our Local Flavours range, available in 18 of our Hampshire stores.”

As well as having their recipes professionally styled and photographed, the winners and runners up now go on to compete in the regional final of the Create & Cook Competition, to be held at Newlyns Cookery School near Hook on 25 June. Here they face stiff competition from their fellow county winners from Sussex and Isle of Wight schools. The overall champions will win the coveted 2015 Create & Cook Competition trophy, plus £1000 for their school food technology department. The champion title is currently held by Joe Doncaster and Alice Hyde from Sandown Bay Academy on the Isle of Wight. Find out more at fit2cook.co.uk.