Young cooks' competition aims to be a catalyst for culinary career

Young cooks' competition aims to be a catalyst for culinary career

Young culinary talent in Hampshire is flourishing, according to the organisers of a regional cookery competition aimed at 12-14 year olds, following its 2014 launch across Hampshire, Sussex and the Isle of Wight.

A previous finalist of The Create and Cook Competition, Callum Mousley is visiting Kings School in Winchester (Thursday 16 January) to inspire young cooks to enter as one of a series of special cookery workshops being held in schools across the region. Min Raisman of fit2cook food education, said: 'Entering the Create & Cook Competition when he was at Henry Beaufort School in Winchester really helped shape Callum's career. It led to work experience at Lainston House Hotel and now he is at catering college at Southdowns he has been able to continue with a part time job at Lainston.'

Min added: 'I'm really encouraged by the level of interest being shown in the competition by Hampshire's young cooks, and anticipate the standard of entries will be higher than ever.'

To enter the Create and Cook Competition, which is run by fit2cook food education and sponsored by The Southern Co-operative, young cooks need to devise a two course menu using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.

Callum will be joined at the workshop by one of the founders of The Create and Cook Competition, Chef Andy MacKenzie from Lainston House Hotel in Sparsholt.

With his continued enthusiasm for developing young talent, Andy is heading up a Chefs' Academy for the Exclusive Hotel Group, to be launched this summer. Andy said: 'Competitions are a great way to nurture young talent and the Create and Cook Competition gives young cooks across Hampshire, Sussex and Isle of Wight the chance to really shine. It may also be the catalyst for them pursuing a career in cooking. A desire to work in this industry often starts at a young age, so we're keen to help develop this passion. It also gives chefs like me a chance to spot new talent!'

Andy and Callum will be demonstrating a dish using seasonal local produce.

Andy added: 'With so much fantastic Hampshire produce around the young cooks are spoilt for choice. By entering The Create and Cook Competition, we hope that young cooks will explore their local farmers' markets, farm shops, gardens and allotments to search out their local flavours.'

Entries to The Create and Cook competition are open to 12-14 year olds via their school food technology department until the closing date of Friday 28th March.

The top Hampshire cooks will cook their locally inspired dishes in a final at Highbury College in May. The winners will go on to the Regional Final against young cooks from West Sussex and the Isle of Wight which will be held at Newlyns Farm Cookery School in June. The winning school wins £1000 for their school food technology department and the young cooks get their recipes professionally styled and photographed for publication.

The 2014 Create & Cook Competition is run by fit2cook food education, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative and supported in Hampshire by Lainston House Hotel, The Pig Hotel, Highbury College, Newlyns Farm Cookery School, Hampshire Fare and Hampshire Farmers' Markets.

Image: Create and Cook winners 2013

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