Six budding young chefs cooked up a storm in the kitchens of Fife College last week in the Kirkcaldy final of the Rotary Young Chef 2019 competition.
A panel of judges including Eadie Manson, television chef and lecturer at the college, James McKay, head chef at The Bay Hotel and Gobinda Kharel, owner and chef at the Annapurna Ghurka restaurant, tasted the dishes, examined the presentation and methods used and, after much deliberation, chose their winners.
The competition is open to young people aged between 13 and 16 years and attracted entries from three of Kirkcaldy’s four secondary schools.
The winners were Mackenzie Graham of Balwearie High School and Jake Ramsay of Kirkcaldy High School; they will now go forward to the District 1010 final on January 26 at Dundee College.
The Rotary Club of Kirkcaldy runs the competition and heats with the help of each school, and hopes it can build year on year to make this competition a real inter-school championship and get more students to participate.
This year 13 students took part in the heats from the three schools. Two pupils from each went forward to the Kirkcaldy final.
The winners will be mentored by the judges in the run-up to the final to help them brush up on their skills.
Sharon Munro, senior vice president of the Rotary Club, said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the schools, the home economics teachers and students to make this a great competition. The standard was exceptional and I’m delighted to know that we have such great talent in Fife who will be our future chefs.
“Thanks also to Bryan McCabe-Bell and all his staff at the college for the generosity of time and hospitality given.”
Mr McCabe-Bell, director of business, enterprise and tourism at Fife College added: “We were delighted to host the Young Chef of the Year final at our St Brycedale Campus.
“All six finalists produced some fantastic dishes, demonstrating a real passion for food which will serve them well should they go on to pursue a career in catering and hospitality.
“Congratulations to the winners on the day, Jake and Mackenzie. I’m sure they will do very well in the next stage of the competition.
“The boys said they were both thrilled to have won and we wish them good luck in the next stage of the competition.”
The nationwide Rotary competition attracts nearly 3000 entrants across Great Britain and Ireland, which is an indication of the skill and talent needed to get through to the national final.
The task for the young chefs is to cook a healthy three-course meal for two people, with a time limit of two hours and a modest budget.
With each round the task becomes increasingly difficult for the young would-be chefs.
Now in its 18th year, the competition is proving a huge success.
The Rotary Young Chef competition was created to give young people across Great Britain and Ireland a chance to showcase their skills in the kitchen.