Burlington Danes pupil cooks up Chef of the Year win

See all the images from the day on our Flickr photo gallery

Burlington Danes pupil Beth Woodgate, 15, was crowned Chef of the Year at our recent culinary competition.  

The White city pupil won the day by serving up pan fried duck with orange juice and turned vegetables.

The event last Thursday (23 February) was hosted by Ealing Hammersmith & West London’s College TASTE restaurant in Barons Court where the finalists had just one hour to prepare two courses from fresh ingredients on a £7 budget. 

Beth was inspired to start cooking by her chef uncle, who travels the world cooking for people.

“It was a shock at first, but it felt really good to be the winner,” she said.

“We thought it would be good fun to enter and a chance to cook in a professional kitchen.

“It was a bit stressful using professional equipment and keeping to the time limit, but the college chef showed me how to use it and I managed to get my dishes completed in time.”

The local judges – who hailed from Wagamama, Jamie’s Kitchen, and The Dorsett Hotel – were led by Sian Wyn Owen, the head chef of the prestigious River Café in Hammersmith. They all spoke of the high quality of the meals and the difficulty of selecting a winner.

Pupil challenge

Image caption: Beth Woodgate with her trophy

Beth fought off strong challenges by pupils from Queensmill, Wood Lane High and Godolphin & Latymer. For her winning dish she took home the trophy, a Westfield gift card, a Wagamama gift bag and a selection of cookbooks from the judges. The awards were presented by Cllr Mercy Umeh, Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham. 

Also at the event was La’Tisha Atkinson-Cambell whose local business Bake that Cake was supported as a start-up with help from The Princes Trust. 

She spoke of her experience of starting her food business after which the guests had a chance to savour a magnificent cake made in the shape of a chef’s hat especially for the event.

Meanwhile, it was the first time the young chefs had worked under pressure in professional catering kitchens and been observed by head chefs.

All the finalists though spoke of their love of and commitment to cooking, especially so when given the chance to create something new.

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