Young chefs from across Lancashire have been put through their paces in the regional heats of the Reg Johnson Young Chef Schools Competition, held at Blackburn College and Blackpool and The Fylde College.
32 pupils made it through to the regional heats by designing innovative, individual dishes that celebrated fresh local ingredients.
Judged by celebrity chefs Nigel Haworth and Paul Heathcote MBE; the competition was created to honour the memory of the late Reg Johnson – a local poultry farmer whose top-quality produce put the village of Goosnargh on the map.
Nigel Haworth said: “We have been absolutely delighted with the standard of dishes produced. Each pupil had really thought about the design, presentation and timing of their chosen dishes and it was a pleasure to see such passion for cooking in pupils so young.
“This is the perfect age to stimulate an interest in food, educating pupils of the fantastic career path and opportunities available within the Catering and Hospitality industry.”
Paul Heathcote MBE said: “Reg was a great friend of ours and he would have been so proud of this competition and the enthusiasm demonstrated by the pupils. He was very passionate about encouraging young chefs to enter the Catering and Hospitality industry.”
The finalists include: Nabil Hamza from Blackburn Central High School, Alisha Patel and Naomi Wood from Archbishop Temple School, Alina Munir and Iqra Nadeem from Accrington Academy and Jayden Diale and Scott Daniels from Accrington Academy, Callum Wynn and Jayden Shallcross from Carr Hill High School, Nathan Anderson and Thierry Bennett from Car Hill High School, Ruby Williams and Katie Weekes from Highfield Academy and Paige Watson and Kaydance Evans from Unity Academy. In the event of an absence in the final, Daisy Storer and Faith Williams from Ribblesdale High School and Daniel Shaw and Jamal Mahmood from Hyndburn Academy are reserves.
Damian Stewart, Head of School for Customer Service Industries at Blackburn College said: “We were thrilled to be able to host the competition and witness such a high standard of cooking across the regional heats.”
“Thank you to our partners for supporting this competition; Future U, Johnson and Swarbrick, Northcote, Heathcote and Co, Hive Business School, Ribble Farm Fare and Sousvide Tools.”
Gill Piper, Student Experience Manager at Blackburn College added: “A special thank you to Future U for their support with this project. Together, we will continue to empower young people with the knowledge and opportunities they need to succeed.”
The Reg Johnson Young Chef Schools Competition is in its second iteration following a highly-successful inaugural year. The competition final is scheduled for Wednesday 1st May 2019 at Blackburn College where pupils will be competing for an inspiring prize package including dinner for 6 at Michelin-star restaurant Northcote and a cooking demonstration from Executive Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen.