Young Chef of the Year
This is an annual competition we hold in February at Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College, Gliddon Road, Hammersmith.
The aim is to get young people interested in cooking. The competition also teaches students about the importance of food hygiene and encourages them to create healthy dishes under tight deadlines – an essential skill in the catering trade.
Fourteen-year-old Kai Sulcedo had an inkling he was doing well as he prepared the showstopper which landed him the title Hammersmith & Fulham Young Chef of the Year.
“The judges asked me why I was cooking mapo tofu curry noodles,” said the Phoenix Academy student. “I said that I like Chinese cuisine, specifically Sichuan, as it combines so many different types of tastes. When I’d explained my reasons, I felt I had a chance of winning.”
Kai, from Westbourne Park, walked away with the title, a glass trophy, two cooking books and a generous gift card from Westfield after completing his competition menu with a Chinese-inspired coconut pudding.
He had an hour to prepare two courses from scratch in the production kitchen of the West London College Taste restaurant in Barons Court.
Ines Elliot Granger was crowned Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Young Chef of the Year at the prestigious annual cooking competition.
The budding 15-year-old chef cooked up a Japanese-inspired fish and chips dish consisting of miso sea bream, wasabi pie soufflé and tempura vegetables that left the panel of judges in awe on the 10th anniversary of the council-funded event.
Burlington Danes pupil Beth Woodgate, 15, was crowned Young Chef of the Year at our recent culinary competition.
Parhy Spence from Fulham Cross School beat eleven other finalists to take the honours at H&F’s Young Chef 2016 final at Hammersmith & Fulham College’s catering division on 26th February with a highly praised meal of stuffed chicken, sweet potato puree and asparagus followed by a caramel pot.
Whilst announcing the winner, Gerrard Madden, Executive Head Chef at Fulham Football Club, who led the judging panel, commented that the standard was exceptionally high and choosing a winner was really hard.
Taban Roosta of Holland Park School took the 2015 title with her expertly-cooked menu of chicken roulade stuffed with fresh tarragon and pork sausage with rocket and a balsamic reduction, followed by tonka beans panna cotta with orange cake and cherry coulis.
Taban said the competition had inspired her to do more cooking at home. She said, "It was awesome. I got some really good tips on presentation. I’m really proud of what I made and that people really liked it. I didn’t expect to win. I’ll cook the dish again when I have visitors at home".
The competitors were judged by local star chefs Danny Bohan of the River Café, Anna Lotito of Mamma Anna & Co and Gerrard Madden of Fulham Football Club.
Anna Lotito said: "It was such a pity only one student had to win as everyone was at an outstanding level. The presentation, flavour and cooking skills using meat and fish is not something to be taken for granted. They were focused, precise – and very polite!"
A schoolgirl from Fulham has taken the title Young Chef of the Year 2014 in this popular annual competition. Freya Holden who attends the Moat School in Fulham beat competitors from four other schools by serving up a menu of frizzled pancetta with chicory, pine nuts, lemon, honey and olive oil and a cheese and thyme soufflé served with fresh bread.
"I cooked these items because I found them challenging and I love cheese," she said. "I really enjoyed working in a professional kitchen as there is so much space."
Freya was presented with a winner’s trophy, a £200 gift card donated by Westfield London and a copy of cook book Tapas Revolution by the author Omar Allibhoy.
Frances Stainton, Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham, and Charles Williams, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, presented the awards. Ms Stainton said: "It was wonderful to see such enthusiasm and creativity being poured into their dishes. All the young people taking part displayed real talent and I am sure they all have very bright futures ahead of them." This year’s judges included Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board, which reports to London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Amina Bendadjal from Fulham Cross Girls’ School won the 2013 Young Chef of the Year. Amina, 14, beat four other local students to the title after impressing judges with her menu of baked salmon, Mediterranean rice, sundried tomatoes and yoghurt dressing followed by chocolate fondant and homemade vanilla ice cream. She, along with four other competitors, was given a budget of £6.50 for the two-course meal and had one hour to prepare and cook it.
Amina said: "It’s still sinking in that I won. My parents have been a big influence on my choice of dish. I'm in the first year of GCSE food technology and my school has been very supportive. It's been a good experience and hopefully will lead to lots of opportunities for a future career."
The judges – Ruth Rogers from Hammersmith’s famous River Café, Omar Allibhoy from Tapas Revolution, based in Westfield, and John Reen, Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College’s senior chef lecturer – thought Amina was ‘cooking above her age’ and her meal was ‘a really advanced effort’.
Amina was presented with a £150 in vouchers to spend at Westfield and a glass trophy by H&F Mayor, Cllr Belinda Donovan and cabinet member for residents’ services, Cllr Greg Smith.
Cllr Smith said: "All the contestants made some incredible food and it goes to show that a little can go a long way. Amina’s meal really did stand out and it obviously meant a lot to her to win. These young people are talented cooks and should all be very proud of themselves."