Cooking up a treat in the College kitchens

Published: Tuesday 1 December 2015

Budding cooks from across the Fylde Coast have been feeling the heat as they compete for the title of Rotary Young Chef of the Year.

High school students were let loose in the professional kitchens at  Blackpool and The Fylde College’s for a local round of the competition organised by Kirkham and Rural Fylde Rotary Club.

Eight entrants were challenged to cook two courses in 90 minutes and then marked on technical ability, taste and presentation. The two winners were Marcelina Solarski from St Bede’s, who whipped up  scallops with bacon and black pudding followed by baked Alaska Caribbean style, and Molly Jelley from Hodgson, thanks to her salmon and broccoli tagliatelle and little lemon tarts.

Leading the judging was Matt Johnson, Head Chef at The Villa in Wrea Green who also trained at Blackpool and The Fylde College. He said: 

“Competitions like this are invaluable in creating motivation and letting young people experience the discipline of working in a real kitchen. It’s good grounding for a career in the industry. The standard was really impressive for such young chefs and I’m sure they will all learn a lot from the experience.”

Matt was joined by Mark Belfield, Specialist Practitioner at B&FC, who added:

“They have all done really well. I was amazed at how much confidence they had and how well prepared they were. Kitchens can be very stressful environments but you wouldn’t have known they were in competition.”

Marcelina and Molly will now go through to the district finals on 25 January and have also been offered some extra lessons at the College to help them prepare. A place in the national finals could follow.

Tim Leeson, Chair of Youth Services, Kirkham and Rural Fylde Rotary Club, said:

“This is an ideal opportunity for young people to step out of their comfort zone. It allows them to build confidence in an area they wouldn’t normally be tested. Each year we see some marvellous food being prepared which would grace any local restaurant and this year has been no exception.”

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