Reigning BBC Masterchef: The Professionals Champion, Chef Steven Edwards launched the 2015 Create & Cook Competition in Sussex at The Pass Restaurant, South Lodge Hotel (on 10 November) to encourage 12-14 year olds to enter this hotly contested cookery challenge encompassing Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Steven, who is now chef/director of his own company Etch Food, is a passionate ambassador and judge of the competition, which is organised by Fit2cook food education and sponsored by The Southern Co-operative. He said: “The Create and Cook competition is not just about cooking but being involved with the food journey from field to plate. As a judge, I am looking for cooks who demonstrate this understanding as well as using technique to get the most from their chosen ingredients.”
With cooking now compulsory on the school curriculum, the Create & Cook Competition has even more relevance. School pupils from Year 7-10 are now being asked to ‘understand the source, seasonality and characteristics of a range of ingredients’ as well as have a general understanding of cookery techniques and nutrition.
As Min Raisman, Director of Fit2cook food education explained: “The focus of the Create and Cook Competition is for young cooks to create a two course menu using local ingredients sourced from their county. They’ll also need to submit information about the production, character and distinctiveness of their key ingredients and show an understanding of why it’s important to buy local. We believe that this insight not only makes young people better cooks as it demonstrates they really understand their ingredients, but also makes them aware that their buying choices have consequences – environmentally, socially and economically.”
Lily Collins and Keely Samain (14), pupils at The Academy Selsey won the Sussex final of the 2014 Create and Cook competition but were beaten in the regional final by Joe Lancaster and Alice Hyde, from Sandown Bay Academy on the Isle of Wight. Lily and Keely said: “This competition has been a really exciting and emotional journey and we were so pleased we got to the final, everyone should have this opportunity. It’s been exciting having Steven judge us, rather than watching him on TV being judged for his cooking!”
The deadline for young cooks aged 12-14 years to enter the 2015 Create and Cook Competition is Friday 20 March 2015, and entries need to be submitted through their school food technology department. A county final will be held in Hampshire, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight; the winners from these will face a regional final in June to win £1000 for their school food technology department and the coveted fit2cook trophy.