Rotary Young Chef contest in Wokingham

PUBLISHED: 11:48 14 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:48 14 February 2014

The competitors –(l to r) Michael Farr of Harefield Academy; Hayden Rushby of Bicester

The competitors –(l to r) Michael Farr of Harefield Academy; Hayden Rushby of Bicester


Executive Chef Paul Sutcliffe and Tracey Wheelhouse from St. Anne’s Manor Hotel, Wokingham, judged the district final of the national Rotary “Young Chef” competition.

Jemima’s table presentationJemima’s table presentation

Eight young people from as far afield as Banbury, Newbury and West London converged on Garth Hill College, Bracknell, to compete.

The competitors, who had already won their local heat to get their place in the District Final, were required to prepare a healthy three course meal for two, with a budget for ingredients of £15 and working within a specified timescale. Independent judges from the professional catering industry were in attendance to assess their performance in the kitchen as well as the quality and inventiveness of the dishes they prepared.

The competition was won by Hayden Rushby (17) of Bicester & Banbury College, and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Banbury. Hayden’s starter course was fresh home-cured mackerel with gin and pink grapefruit pickled fennel and cucumber. His main course was chicken breast stuffed with prunes and wrapped in Parma ham, served with black pudding bon-bon, baby gem, peas and carrots, and a white wine sauce. His sweet course was white chocolate panna cotta, chocolate and orange tuille and raspberry compote.

Jemima Denham (14) from St. Mary’s School, Ascot, and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ascot, was the runner-up. Her menu began with mushroom soup, followed by salmon in a vegetable broth, finishing with chocolate clafoutis with caramelised oranges. The winner and the runner-up go through to the Regional Final on 8 March.

Paul Sutcliffe said afterwards: “All the competitors have achieved a very high standard, producing some lovely dishes, and they should be very proud of themselves. It has been very difficult to reach our decision on the winning order.”

The District Final this year was managed by the Rotary Club of Ascot, and was attended by District governor John Greening who presented the winner and runner-up with their awards. DG John commended all the competitors for their enthusiasm in the competition and the quality of the dishes they produced.


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