Young Chef of the Year – a cause for pride, and for optimism too!

Is healthy family eating a lost cause now? I’ll answer a confident ‘no’, to that, even though family life has changed so much in just a few generations.

The good old days of the happy family sat down to dinner with Dad at the head of the table carving up the roast may be gone, but I see enough good things happening amongst the younger generation to feel quite optimistic. A recent such event was Rotary’s ‘Young Chef of the Year’ competition.

Firstly, let me congratulate district final winner Rebecca Potter, a Year 11 student at The Harefield Academy, site of one of our restaurants. It was a great win. Competition finalists were asked to prepare a healthy 2-course meal for £15 or under and they had just one hour and 15 minutes to prepare and cook their dishes and to demonstrate a high level of cooking knowledge and skill in the process. I think it’s wonderful that there are never any shortage of entrants to these young chef/masterchef competitions.

Rebecca’s dishes were Fillet of Cod wrapped in Parma Ham with Buttered Nicola Potatoes, a main course which she followed with Lemon Tart and Fresh Berries. Her food won rave reviews from the judges too – I wish I’d had the opportunity to try it as well!

I know how closely our school restaurant teams work with the Food Tech teams; any ‘Young Chef of the Year’ candidates are given full run of our kitchen facilities when they need them. To me it illustrates just what a community effort all of this is. That’s how we should develop enthusiasm about good food, isn’t it – as a total school community all working together.

Rebecca’s win was fantastic recognition of a talented young cook. It was also a feather in the cap for the Academy. And I like to think that the foodie culture which we work so hard to nurture has played some part as well. I’ll also stick to my belief that when young people have their food horizons opened up, with tools like the Top Banana iPhone App to help, they’re in the ideal position to pass that enthusiasm onto the rest of the family.

Fine food – it may not be ‘the new rock and roll’ just yet, but I like to think it’s on the way!

Till next time,


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