Fylde schools take top places in Young Chef Competition

Published on 08/05/2019 by nmoo

Following a closely contested final involving schools from across Lancashire, it was students from the Fylde who took the top places in this year’s prestigious Reg Johnson Young Chef Schools Competition, which took place on 1st May at Blackburn College.

Judged by celebrity chefs Nigel Haworth and Paul Heathcote MBE, the competition honours the memory of the late Reg Johnson – a poultry farmer whose top-quality produce put the village of Goosnargh on the map and who actively encouraged the development of young talent in the catering industry.

Katie Weekes and Ruby Williams from Highfield Leadership Academy in Blackpool were the winning team. They impressed the judges with a main course of stuffed chicken with rhubarb jam and goats cheese wrapped in pancetta followed by a deconstructed rhubarb trifle.

Close behind in second place came Callum Wynn and Jayden Shallcross from Carr Hill High School in Kirkham. Their pan-fried chicken breast with potato salad embellished with wild garlic mayonnaise and accompanied by char-grilled broccoli with a citrus dressing, proved a great success. A rhubarb compote and ginger trifle completed their winning meal.

Jordan Kehoe, Chef Lecturer at Blackpool and The Fylde College, which stages the competition jointly with Blackburn College, said: “It was fantastic to see so many schools across Lancashire getting involved with this competition. I went into many local schools to promote the competition and from day one to see so many of them rise to the challenge and get so creative with their ideas was brilliant.


“I have had the pleasure of mentoring both the runners-up and the winners throughout the three heats of this competition and both teams did exceptionally well. Their hard work and commitment throughout really did shine through at the finals.


“This is only the beginning of their exciting culinary journey as they have won some amazing prizes which will not only continue their development and knowledge within the hospitality world but also inspire and show what can be achieved within this fantastic industry.”


Prizes for the winning Highfield Leadership Academy team included a dinner for six at the renowned Michelin-starred Northcote Manor restaurant in the Ribble Valley, a cookery demonstration by executive chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen, a set of professional standard pans, and a signed copy of Nigel Howarth’s best-selling cookery book ‘Obsession’.


The school was also awarded the Reg Johnson Young Chef Schools Competition trophy and a food dehydrator, which is a piece of equipment essential to modern professional-standard cooking.


The runners-up will also soon be enjoying their prize of a dinner for four at the Michelin star White swan restaurant in Fence along with cooking equipment and a signed copy of ‘Obsession’.


Young people aged 13 and 16 who may be interested in a future career as a chef or may just enjoy cooking and want to improve your skills can enrol in The Young Chefs Academy run by Blackpool and The Fylde College at its Bispham campus.

During this five-week Wednesday evening course one of the college’s professional chefs teaches the basic cookery skills in an industry standard kitchen. Students learn how to prepare and cook a range of dishes and each receives a certificate on completion of the course.

More information can be found at https://blackpool.ac.uk/course/tf1ec058