Talented youngsters from schools across Hammersmith & Fulham cooked against the clock in a bid to impress expert judges and be crowned Young Chef of the Year 2016.
Parhys Spence, 15, who attends Fulham Cross Girls’ School in Munster Road, took the title for her menu of stuffed chicken breast with sweet potato puree followed by dessert of salted caramel pot.
“It was a brilliant experience,” she said. “Presenting my own food to the judges was the best part.”
She said her mother and grandma had inspired her to cook and added that the experience had taught her a lot.
Asked the one thing she would take away from the event, which is run by H&F Council, she said: “That it’s possible to make a brilliant dish within an hour.”
The ten runners-up, who also produced top quality meals, were:
- Michael Archetta, 15, of Woodlane High School
- Denny Barwick, 14, of Woodlane High School
- Rhymia Smith, 15, of Fulham Cross Girls’
- Jahson Porter, 16, of The Bridge Academy
- Tess Peplow, 14, of Godolphin and Latymer School
- Emily Gustafsson, 14, of Godolphin and Latymer School
- Bobbi Bergin, 14, of Burlington Danes Academy
- Benjamin Guiste, 15, of Burlington Danes Academy
- Samantha Brabscimbe , of Queensmill School
- Busayomi Onibokun, of Queensmill School
All the competitors put in hours of practice and competed at their own schools for a place in the final.
The final took place at Hammersmith and Fulham College in Barons Court on Thursday 25 February.
The competitors were judged by local star chefs Gerrard Madden of Fulham Football Club, Helen Uleskin and Sam Taylor of Jamie’s Italian in Westfield, and Sian Wyn Owen of the River Café in Hammersmith.
“They were all brilliant, they all deserved to win, said Sian, head chef at the River Café. “It was almost impossible to choose.”
“The standard was amazing. I was inspired by them all.”
Hammersmith & Fulham Mayor Mercy Umeh awarded all the finalists a trophy, a Westfield London gift card and a River Café cookbook.
“Once again, the students stunned us all with their determination and the quality of their dishes,” she said.
“They have all worked incredibly hard to get to the final and they should all be very proud.”
Young people interested in a career in hospitality and catering have a range of courses to choose from at Hammersmith & Fulham College. Leading chefs Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey, Brian Turner and Mark Hix have come in to work with the students. The college has its own 120-seat training restaurant.