Acclaim for Isle of Wight's winning young cooks
Monday, 30 June 2014 15:26

IOW cookeryTwo 14 year old cooks from the Isle of Wight have been crowned Create & Cook Competition champions by BBC2’s Masterchef: The Professionals champion, Chef Steven Edwards, winning praise for their impressive use of Island produce as well as £1000 for their school’s food technology department.


Joe Lancaster and Alice Hyde, both 14 and pupils at Sandown Bay Academy, fought off stiff competition from three other team finalists from Hampshire and West Sussex at the cookery competition’s final (26 June). The Create & Cook Competition, which is run by fit2cook food education and sponsored by The Southern Co-operative, aims to celebrate local food and nurture the talent and skills of young cooks aged 12-14 years. All four contestant pairs were challenged to design a two course menu full of local flavours and cook this in front of the judging panel at the competition final held at Newlyns Cookery School in Hampshire.

Joe and Alice’s menu played on the theme of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit. Joe, who aspires to run a farm with an onsite restaurant, cooked Mr McGregor’s Pie, using wild rabbit that he’d jointed and prepared himself. This was followed by Alice’s strawberry cheesecake. Their menu also incorporated Island grown carrots, radishes and strawberries, Godshill cider, flour from Calbourne Water Mill and Island butter and cream.

Competition judge, chef and current champion of BBC2’s Masterchef: The Professionals, Steven Edwards, praised the teenagers’ standard of cooking:

“This competition has become so hard to judge as the quality of entries is so high. All the contestants did such a good job and we could see that everyone really wanted to win, I could have been watching professional chefs in the kitchen, not young teenagers. Joe and Alice worked so well together as a team, everything they did took the judges on a journey from field to plate.” The competition was also judged by Chief Operating Officer for Food Retail at The Southern Co-operative, Phil Ponsonby, who oversees the retailer’s Local Flavours range, sourcing over 1500 product lines from producers, farmers and suppliers across the south of England. Phil said; “The finalists’ skills were phenomenal, especially as they were cooking under such time pressure. Joe and Alice had spent considerable time and effort researching ingredients from their Island and this contributed to the diversity and flavours of their dishes. All the judges were so impressed by the originality of all their dishes , it was a unanimous decision that they deserved to win.” Isle of Wight producer Nuala Grandcourt of Wild Island Dressings, Executive Chef Andy MacKenzie from Exclusive’s Chefs’ Academy in Hampshire and Chef Hannah Westcott from Newlyns Cookery School also made up the judging panel.

Joe and Alice were speechless when announced as winners. “I am lost for words, it’s just amazing to win, such a thrill!” said Joe. Alice added: “We really didn’t expect to win; there were so many amazing dishes. Winning has made all the hard work worth it! It’s really encouraged us to carry on cooking and we’d definitely tell others to do everything they can to enter next year.” As well as £1000 for their school’s food technology department, Joe and Alice were awarded the fit2cook trophy and an award featuring their own recipe, professionally styled.

The partnership between The Southern Co-operative and fit2cook food education, which has led to the success of the Create and Cook Competition, was recently highly commended by Business in the Community (BITC) at its Responsible Business Awards. It recognised the competition’s goal to build strong local food communities by linking schools with top local chefs, food producers and retailers and its work to educate the next generation of cooks about food provenance, sustainability, food miles and the importance of buying local food.

The Create and Cook Competition was also supported in on the Isle of Wight include Wightlink ferries and The Cookery School at the Isle of Wight College To find out more and try the winning recipes, visit www.fit2cook.co.uk/createandcook.


Photo: Create and Cook competition winners Joe Lancaster and Alice Hyde, both 14 and pupils at Sandown Bay Academy, pictured with current champion of BBC2’s Masterchef: The Professionals, Steven Edwards

Please also see attached recipes and photos of final dishes which you are welcome to publish with this article.

For more information about this press release, or for higher resolution versions of the attached photos, please contact Min Raisman, fit2cook food education This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 01962 773727 or Sophie Boxall, Press & Publicity Co-ordinator at The Southern Co-operative on 023 92 222 591, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Finalists’ recipes and use of local produce:

Representing Hampshire:

Abigail Jenkinson and Freya Body, Applemore Technology College Pesto chicken roulade  with rice, asparagus and parmesan crisp Summer fruit tart

Incorporating local produce: Noah’s Ark Farm free range chicken, own made pesto, Pratt’s rapeseed oil (from The Southern Co-operative’s Local Flavours range), Eling Tide Mill four, Goodall’s strawberries from Lymington, Claytons eggs

Alexander Clothier and Sofia Moya, Robert May’s School, Odiham Pan seared duck leg with redcurrant jus with honey and mustard wrapped sausages and broad beans Pipers honey bavarois with orange and honey jelly with lavender shortbread

Incorporating local produce: Hampshire duck, Newlyns Farm sausages, Pipers honey and Claytons eggs (from The Southern Co-operative’s Local Flavours range), Selbourne lavender broad beans from Durleighmarsh Farm Shop, redcurrants from West Green Fruit, Hartney Witney (frozen), own grown herbs, Watson’s milk, Blackburn and Haynes Bordon cream, Leckford plain flour

Representing Sussex:

Lily Collins and Keely Samain, The Academy Selsey Three Harbours beefburger in a homemade bun with homemade mayo, potato wedges and salad Chocolate profiteroles Incorporating local produce: Three Harbours beef (from The Southern Co-operative’s Local Flavours range), Weald and Downland flour, Montezumas chocolate, own eggs, Sussex Gold Oil

Representing Isle of Wight:

Joe Doncaster and Alice Hyde,  Sandown Bay Academy Mr McGregor’s Pie – with own prepared wild rabbit Strawberry cheesecake

Incorporating local produce: Isle of Wight wild rabbit, own grown carrots, radishes and peas, Godshill cider, mustard, cream and butter from Rew Valley (from The Southern Co-operative’s Local Flavours range), Calbourne Water Mill plain flour, vegetables from Farmer Jacks

Min Raisman

Director of fit2cook food education

Co-founder and Organiser of The Create and Cook Competition

Kindly sponsored by The Southern Co-operative