Rotary Young Chef Competition

On Wednesday 21 October the Rotary Club of Oxted and Limpsfield held a Rotary Young Chef competition for six students from Oxted School. The students involved were:

Year 10 students - Katie Gostt, Rebecca Johnson, Emily Johnson and Ben Hookway
Year 11 students - Ai Yamano and Edsel Daculog

The students were each required to produce two portions consisting of a starter and a hot main course of their choice, within a budget of £10. The time allowed was one and a half hours. The students were judged not only on the quality and taste of the meals, but also on planning, healthy choice of meals, neatness of working, the range of skills used, costing and the presentation of tables.

The three judges were led by professional chef, Steve Chamberlain the owner of Papillon in Oxted, which has achieved 5 star ratings. Steve has extensive experience as a chef and represented Great Britain at “International Taste of Canada” where he gained a Gold Medal for 3 hot courses   and Silver Medal for cold buffet. He was also runner up for the Savoy Apprentice of the Year and the Ernest and Young Entrepreneur of the year.

The other judges were Alison McNamara, Assistant Head, representing Oxted School and Julie Peniston-Bird representing the Rotary Club of Oxted and Limpsfield. The completion was organised by Brian Taylor, a member of the Club, together with the support of the Mr Boldison-Smith and Miss Murphy, teachers at Oxted School.

The judges were very impressed with the quality and presentation of the food prepared by all contestants, which made judging very difficult. After some careful deliberation, Ben Hookway was chosen as the winner and Ai Yamano runner-up.

All contestants received a certificate from the Rotary Club. Both the winner and runner-up received a voucher, kindly donated by Purna Gurung, the owner of the Thai Pad, Gurkha Kitchen and Cucina for a meal in one of his restaurants as well a  half day experience in the Thai Pad kitchen.

The other contestants each received a unique book of Celebrity Recipes, put together by Julie Peniston-Bird. Steve Chamberlain gave each contestant some professional advice on their respective dishes.

Ben and Ai will next compete in the Rotary District Semi Final being held on Saturday 23 January 2016.

Ai Yamano has already completed her experience in the Thai Pad kitchen and has written about her experience:

“My whole day kitchen experience at the restaurant, Thai Pad was so exciting, and it will be an experience I will not forget.

The cheerful atmosphere created by the chefs definitely made it easy for me to join in, and they let me experience a variety of things so that I could get as much out of the day, which was very kind of them.

With more time spare in the afternoon, I was able to talk to the chefs more, and they taught me some how to make some dishes; examples being how to wrap a spring roll in different shapes, and how to deep-fry tempura (and what I made actually got served in the restaurant).

The evening was definitely much busier, which meant I got to see more of the action happening, and some skilled work I had never seen before live, such as grilling and frying which they can only do in restaurant kitchens. By the sight of this, I was amazed at how fast chefs have cook with orders that come continuously, and it made me realise how much team work is important in a kitchen. I also found it fascinating about the variety of presentation techniques they use, and helped me gain ideas for some dishes to make in the future.

Thank you very much for organising the experience for me - I had a great time”!


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