Success on the menu for teenage cooks

Alnwick Rotary Club Chef Of The Year competition at the Duchess's High School. Josie Dodds with her chicken and chick pea salad. Ref:JCNG 120613chef2
Alnwick Rotary Club Chef Of The Year competition at the Duchess's High School. Josie Dodds with her chicken and chick pea salad. Ref:JCNG 120613chef2

Young cooks showed they know their way around the kitchen as they battled it out in an annual culinary competition.

High standards were on the menu as five youngsters went head to head in the final of the Rotary Club of Alnwick’s annual Junior Chef of the Year contest.

The participants in the Alnwick 'Junior Chef of the Year' finals including the eventual winner, Alex Clark-Thompson (far left), and the runner-up, Amy-Jo Campbell (in the red apron). The two judges were our own President, Marion Long, and the Food and Beverages Manager from the White Swan, Jannick Genouw. Each finalist received �12.00 to pay for the ingredients plus a certificate and the winner received �25.00 and the runner-up �15.00 in addition to their certificates.

The participants in the Alnwick 'Junior Chef of the Year' finals including the eventual winner, Alex Clark-Thompson (far left), and the runner-up, Amy-Jo Campbell (in the red apron). The two judges were our own President, Marion Long, and the Food and Beverages Manager from the White Swan, Jannick Genouw. Each finalist received �12.00 to pay for the ingredients plus a certificate and the winner received �25.00 and the runner-up �15.00 in addition to their certificates.

The quintet were Year 9 and 10 pupils from the town’s Duchess’s Community High School and it was Alex Clark-Thompson who came out on top.

He impressed the judges with his Northumberland pan haggerty served with pea shoot and tomato salad and Rothbury wholemeal bread followed by an apple crumble cake served with a home-made vanilla custard.

He will now go on to the district final, with a place at the national finals at stake.

Runner-up was Amy-Jo Campbell while the other three finalists were Josie Dodds, Fearn Jolly and Sam Smith.

The two judges on the day were the club’s president, Marion Long, and Jannick Genouw, who is food and beverages manager at the White Swan Hotel, in Alnwick.

Marion was impressed with the quality of all the dishes.

She said: “The overall standard just gets better and better each year. We’re always amazed that the young people in Alnwick can produce such fantastic food at such a young age.

“The use of local produce is also important and a lot of the entrants used produce from their own gardens or grandparents’ gardens and things like that.”

Reflecting on Alex’s victory, she added: “We work to a certain judging criteria, based on things such as costing, planning, tidiness, presentation and the overall flavour.

“The thing that put Alex above the rest was that he ticked all of the boxes.

“His planning was wonderful, his presentation was excellent, he never looked flustered and he was very calm and well-rehearsed.”

Each finalist had to cook a two-course meal – either a starter and main or main and dessert – and received £12 to pay for the ingredients.

All five were given a certificate. Alex also claimed a £25 prize and Amy-Jo earned £15.

The event was attended by Alnwick Food Festival chairman Ian Brown and director Karen Larkin.

They were so impressed by the quality of the dishes that all five finalists have been invited to cook with celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli at this year’s event.

The popular festival takes place on September 21 and 22.