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College youngsters shine in Rotary Young Chef Competition

(L-r) Gavin Ball, Sally Gregory, Katie Lacey, Jamie Barnett & Sarah Petroff

(L-r) Gavin Ball, Sally Gregory, Katie Lacey, Jamie Barnett & Sarah Petroff

The final of Frome Rotary Club’s Young Chef Competition, was held in the Frome College, design & technology department on Friday 27th November and provided a ‘mouth-watering’ selection of delicious meals.  

Competitors were required to design and prepare a two-course, healthy meal, a main course and dessert for two people on a budget of £10. Seven students attended after school clubs to trial and perfect their recipes for the day.

There was an excellent atmosphere and a real team spirit in the kitchen. The guests and Rotarians commented on the talent and enthusiasm of the students.

The Frome College finalists were: Chloe Gilroy in Year 10, Finlay Collinson in Year 10, Joe Connor in Year 11, Katie Lacey in Year 11, Keeley Berry in Year 11, Abigail Welch in Year 11, Aimee Applegate in Year 12.

The winner was Katie Lacey, who cooked ‘Salmon steaks on a bed of cabbage, onion and bacon followed by pear, pistachio and blackberry crumble, served with a vanilla cream.’

In second place was Keeley Berry, who cooked ‘Mediterranean chicken with roasted vegetables, with lemon soufflé and lavender biscuits.’

In third place was Aimee Applegate who cooked ‘Seasonal venison with root vegetable mash, Cavolo Nero and a red wine sauce, with lemon mousse and sugared almond shortbread.’

The Rotary Club and Frome College were delighted to welcome Jamie Barnett, the head chef of the Deli at Whiterow Farm Shop, and Sally Gregory from Standerwick Suite at Frome Market as this year’s judges. Sally said, “I wish that I could bottle all of the enthusiasm and talent in this room.”

Jamie Barnett commented on the quality and flavours of the final dishes. He complimented the chefs saying that he would be putting some of the winning dishes on his menu.  Indeed, Abigail Welch’s dish of ‘Goats cheese and beetroot tart with roasted vegetables and a watercress, rocket and walnut salad, was the ‘Chef’s dish of the day.’ He was so impressed that he said he was keen to offer employment to the chefs when they are old enough.

Katie will now start training to compete in the District Final in February.

Sarah Petroff, teacher of food & hospitality, awarded seven recipe books as a lasting memento of the day to each finalist; these were dedicated to the memory of Rotarian, Mike Cole, and Frome College’s Paul Charlton who did so much to support the competition.

She said, “Students have worked extremely hard to prepare for this competition and their talent, flair and culinary skills have certainly given the judges a difficult decision to make.  As ever the standards were extremely high and I am very proud of all of the students and the quality of work that they have produced. They did me proud and were a real credit to the college. It has been a fantastic experience for them.”

College principal, Gavin Ball said “The standard of the dishes has been outstanding. I am lucky to have watched some of the Rotary Young Chef Competition, and the quality and professionalism of our young people in the final was simply breath-taking.  Well done to everyone involved, and special thanks to the Rotary Club, and to their teacher Sarah Petroff and her team, for the dedication given to the students throughout the competition and the preparation leading up to it.”

The students said,

“This was a great opportunity to enhance my knowledge and confidence. I have really improved as a chef and pushed myself by competing in this competition.”

“The judges were both complimentary and critical of our performance. They really pushed us to produce our dishes to a high standard.”

“The competition was fun, but we learned skills that are crucial to performing well in a professional kitchen.”