Young chef dishes up a winner at Bedford Rotary cooking contest

Bedford Rotary cooking contest winner Saskia Savage explains how she created her dish.
Bedford Rotary cooking contest winner Saskia Savage explains how she created her dish.

Pupils at Castle Newnham School had a lot on their plates when they took part in the Rotary Club’s Young Chef competition.

Bedford Rotary Club gave each of the 28 pupils, who are studying hospitality and catering, £20 to buy the ingredients to create a three-course meal in two hours.

Josef Plattner, head chef at Cranfield University, and who has in the past cooked for members of the Royal family, judged the competition on costing, planning, healthy choices, presentation skills and neatness.

Saskia Savage who wowed the judges with her meal of Gamba Pil Pil, mini Taccos and a white chocolate mousse took first place. She will represent Bedford Rotary Club and Castle Newnham school at the District Finals in Hitchin on February 2.

Principal Ruth Wilkes said: “We were so delighted to welcome guests from The Rotary Club to Castle Newnham to judge our cooking competition. This really inspired and motivated our pupils to raise their level of cooking and to present their meals in such an attractive way. Being able to cook from fresh ingredients is a skill that we really value as a school and the enthusiasm of our food department makes this such a popular subject.”

Peter Walden of Bedford Rotary Club said: “The standard of all of the dishes was exceptionally high and we enjoyed tasting them. Part of the competition was to present the meal attractively, something that winner Saskia managed to perfection, along with her excellent cooking. Boys and girls worked in a variety of cuisines, including Italian, Spanish, Jamaican, Indian and Sri Lankan, along with plenty of quality English dishes.”

Other results were:

2nd place- Evie Harris- Halloumi dippers with chipotle salsa, spicy lamb stuffed peppers with rice and salad and sweet ricotta with strawberry parfaits and shortbread biscuits.

3rd place- Haris Ayub - Bread prawns with a spicy tomato dip, Peri Peri chicken strips with salted Peri Peri fries and a Terry’s chocolate orange cheesecake and a chocolate surprise bowl with cream and fresh fruit.

Highly commended: Katie Mead, Ellen Hudson, Thomas Walton-Hart and Amal Shaikh.