Young chefs cooking up a head of steam

IT WAS a delicate job with limited time, but that did little to unsettle these young chefs from East Anglia.A dozen catering students from colleges in Suffolk and Essex raced against the clock in a Ready Steady Cook-style culinary challenge.

IT WAS a delicate job with limited time, but that did little to unsettle these young chefs from East Anglia.

A dozen catering students from colleges in Suffolk and Essex raced against the clock in a Ready Steady Cook-style culinary challenge.

The contest, which is now in its third year, was held at Suffolk College in Ipswich and included three teams representing Chelmsford College, Suffolk College and the West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds.

Each team had just three hours to prepare a three-course meal comprising a fish/seafood starter, a chicken dish as the main course and a cold sweet.


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The challenge, which was being judged by top Royal Navy chefs, warrant officer Tony Alcott and chief petty officer Tim Jessett, got underway at 10.50am and students had until just before 2pm before serving their creations to Ipswich mayor Penny Breakwell and St Edmundsbury Mayor David Lockwood.

Among the delights being prepared were mussels in a white wine sauce, scallops with honey and sherry and tomato salsa, roulade of chicken with lime and cream cous-cous, breast of chicken with goats cheese and walnut, and a trio of pear desserts.

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Chelmsford College student Lee Bauer, 18, said: "It's quite stressful but it teaches you to get things out under pressure and to stick to a time frame."

Richard Leeming, 18, who is studying for an GNVQ Level Two catering qualification, said: "We get a lot of enjoyment out of it because we have been practising and putting in extra hours and we all work well as a team."

Mr Leeming, who is hoping to eventually travel back to his native Australia to work as a chef, said he got the inspiration for the team's menu from working part time in a restaurant in Long Melford.

The meals were given marks for visual appeal, workmanship and craft skills as well as texture and taste.

But in the end there could only be one winner and the home team from Suffolk College took the title.

WO Alcott said: "The standard was absolutely fantastic. The food, the service, the culinary skills, the front of house - everything was excellent and picking between the teams was the hardest job I have had to do in a long time."

Suffolk College student Lauren Gregg, 17, said the group had chosen to create meals which they had already learnt during the first year of the course.

She said: "It's went really well and nothing went major wrong. It really shows us what it's going to be like in the future and helps with our training and gives us references."

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