WATCH your step James Martin and Jamie Oliver; there’s some competition for you on the horizon from the talented schoolchildren of Llanelli.
Llanelli Rotary Club staged their seventh annual Young Chef competition at St John Lloyd School.
“It was a wonderful occasion and a great showpiece for the culinary skills of young Llanelli and Burry Port pupils and budding chefs,” said Llanelli Rotary President Alison Evans.
The title of Llanelli Rotary Club Young Chef 2019 went to Josi Robinson, a 13-year-old Year 9 pupil from Glanymor School in Burry Port.
The winning three-course meal for two consisted of – Starter: Flat wild mushrooms, stuffed with garlic and bacon lardons, rocket salad and tomato salsa. Main course: Harissa salmon steaks, cauliflower tabbouleh and pan-seared courgettes. Dessert: Cranberry and cinnamon poached pear with honey yoghurt.
“It was a well-planned menu, cooked with a sense of style and well presented,” said senior judge Stewart Williams, the development chef at Castell Howell foods in Cross Hands.
His judging colleagues, Doreen Martin, food technology teacher at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr School in Llandeilo, and Simon Davies, head chef at Llanelly House, were equally impressed.
Doreen said: “All seven contestants worked really hard and coped well with the stress of cooking to a competition deadline. It was a difficult competition to judge, but we were all in agreement and felt that Josi was a very worthy winner.”
The runner-up was Mia Rees, a 15-year-old Year 10 pupil at St John Lloyd School.
Her menu was – Starter: Couscous and prawn salad stack. Main course: Stuffed chicken ballontine with spinach, potatoes and red wine sauce. Dessert: Meringue and raspberry coulis.
The Llanelli competition also doubled up as the Area Rotary Final. The winner received a trophy and now goes forward to the next round of the nationwide Rotary competition and a district final in Haverfordwest on March 2.
In addition, the winner and runner-up will also get to spend some ‘work experience’ time working alongside head chef Simon Davies at Llanelly House.
All the contestants received souvenir inscribed wooden spoons and aprons.
The winner, Josi Robinson, also received a gift token and recipe book.
The MC for the evening was Rotarian Past President Robert Lloyd and the organising team included Rotarians Kevin Jones and Alison Evans.
The evening was well attended by Rotarians, family and friends of the contestants and teaching staff. They all got a chance to sample the menus at the end of the competition.
The Young Chef tournament is part of a national competition organised by Rotary International Britain and Ireland (RIBI).
Llanelli Rotary President Alison Evans said: “RIBI believes it is highly important to encourage and develop creativity in young people, and this includes creativity in the kitchen.
“Cooking among young people is a growing interest and a valuable life skill. Schools seem to agree and hence the RIBI Young Chef competition moves forward from strength to strength each year producing some superb quality cooking from our young people.”
The competition was open to students aged 11 to 17 years. The challenge was to prepare a three-course meal for two people in two hours, with a budget of £20.
Mrs Evans said: “The standard was exceptional and the judges were full of praise for the effort, ambition and creative ingenuity of the young chefs.
“Our grateful thanks go to St John Lloyd School for hosting the event, to all the pupils who took part and to the mums, dads and others who turned up on the night to add a real buzz to the competition.”
Other contestants were:
Katie Duffy, aged 14, Year 10 St John Lloyd School.
Alana Morris, 15, Year 11 Bryngwyn School.
Evie-Marie Pritchard, 13, Year 9 Coedcae School.
Dion Protheroe, 14, Year 9 Glanymor School.
Amy Reilly, 16, Year 11 Bryngwyn School.
RIBI Young Chef is designed to encourage young people to:
- Develop cookery skills
- Develop food presentation skills
- Consider healthy eating options and food hygiene issues
- Prove their organisational and planning skills
- Prove their ability to cope in a demanding situation.