Wiltshire College & University Centre welcomed six talented future chefs to the Trowbridge campus last week to take part in the Wiltshire final of the South West Junior Chef of the Year competition.
The competition was held in the student production kitchen on campus and Steve Lloyd, Lecturer in Catering & Hospitality at WCUC, was on the judging panel alongside Hywel Jones, Executive Chef at Lucknam Park near Chippenham, and Chris Cleghorn, Executive Chef at The Olive Tree in Bath.
Students aged between 12 and 15 from secondary schools across the county competed for the title and, eventually, Akshatha from South Wilts Grammar School in Salisbury was declared the winner for her dish: chicken biryani served with mixed vegetable curry, naan bread and cucumber raita.
As well as the title of Wiltshire Junior Chef of the Year, Akshantha moves onto the South West regional final and will receive mentoring from Hywel Jones at Lucknam Park.
Hywel Jones said: “This competition has been running for 10 years and this year is by far the strongest and most competitive. As judges, we were presented with six outstanding plates of food and we were absolutely gobsmacked at the standard.
“It was very, very close but we were blown away by Akshantha and her chicken biryani dish. We could not believe that it had not come out of a professional kitchen.
“Although there has to be one winner, everyone did an incredible job and all the young chefs should be extremely proud of themselves. The most important thing is that you all enjoyed yourselves and if food and cooking is something you love, keep going and working hard.”
Congratulations to Akshantha and well done to everyone for taking part.
The full list of competitors and their dishes was:
Akshantha, South Wilts Grammar, Salisbury – Chicken biryani served with mixed vegetable curry, naan bread and cucumber raita
Thomas, St John’s, Marlborough – Chicken and chorizo paella with chilli flatbread
James, St John’s, Marlborough – Venison loin, fondant potato and Cavolo Nero served with a forest of rhubarb and a red wine jus
James, St John’s, Marlborough – Pigeon breast with dauphinoise, pickled carrots, Chinese cabbage, and a bush of redcurrents
Noah, Appleford School, Shrewton – Stargazer Pie
Natalie, Appleford School, Shrewton – Chorizo and pea risotto with Spanish flatbreads