THE HEAT was on in a college kitchen as budding chefs went head to head to produce a knock out dish for a former England rugby star.
Phil Vickery, who was a member of the 2003 Rugby World Cup winning team, visited Worcester College of Technology last Wednesday (May 14) to judge the Young Chef of the Year competition.
A total of 13 schools from across the region took part in the event, including Blessed Edward Catholic College in Worcester, Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoat School and Hanley Castle High School.
Mr Vickery, who won Celebrity Masterchef in 2011, said it was fantastic to see youngsters learn about healthy eating and he was also impressed to see students as young as 11-years-old in the kitchen.
“I feel really proud to be here today as the standard of cooking far outweighs anything I thought was going to be possible,” he said.
“It is ultimately about what the food tastes like, but this was also educational. They have designed their own meals, decided on what is healthy and what combinations to use, so they are developing an understanding of what they are eating, which is great to see.
“You don’t necessarily have to go on to become a Michelin Star chef or even go on to work in the industry as I believe it is a skill that lasts with you forever.”
Gabrielle Ma-Gabaya from St Paul’s Girls School in Birmingham was crowned Young Chef of the Year.
Chris O’Neill, who organised the event, said the contest was hard to judge as there were a number of stand out dishes.
“It was nice to see children getting an insight into something they can do after school,” he said.
“I had been judging a few of the heats, so I knew what the standard was going to be like.
“But considering the environment they were put in, I think they have done brilliantly to create their dish.”