Young Cooks 2018 is now open

The Young Cooks judging panel announce the annual cookery contest for schools and families is now open for entries.

Take partRequest leaflets

It is time for the county’s youngest chefs to get creative in the kitchen – the Young Cooks contest is now open for entries.

Youngsters aged between six and 19 can enter the cookery contest and there’s a £500 pot of prize money for the winners – plus the chance to cook for a group of VIPs.

Entrants are required to make two healthy and delicious dishes, or one dish if entering the primary school category, to a fixed budget. They must upload recipe details plus a photo of the finished product to the Young Cooks website.

Finalists will be invited to a MasterChef-style cook-off in November, where they will prepare their dishes in a professional kitchen for a panel of food industry experts.

Organiser Maxine Tarquini said: “We know from previous years just how many incredibly talented young cooks there are out there. Each year, we are amazed that children as young as seven can produce such delicious, nutritious, amazing-looking creations.

“The judges will choose an overall winner, and three category winners – primary school, secondary school, and family entries, where the child cooks with an adult. So it’s something the whole family can get involved in, and spend happy hours cooking together and tasting the results.

“Even if you don’t get to the final, all the entrants will have their recipes displayed on the Young Cooks website, where anyone in the world can see them and try them out.

“And don’t worry, we’re not looking for the next Heston Blumenthal! But the judges will be looking at presentation, use of healthy ingredients, and knowledge of local produce.”

Young Cooks is supported by NFU Mutual, SE Medical, Golding Vision (part of Golding Homes), Orbit, Benenden Hospital Trust, Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Chequers Kitchen Cookery School, Licensing Consultancy Services, The Southern Co-operative, Whole School Meals, Brakes, and Macknade Fine Foods.

Jim Ratchford, director of hospitality consultants Licensing Consultancy Services, said he was proud to be involved with the competition again.

“The standard gets higher every year and it’s great to see young people learning about food and cooking and nutrition and displaying their skills,” he said. “It is fantastic, and I can only encourage even more people to get involved.”

For more information, to see previous entries or to enter, visit

Schools can also visit the Young Cooks website to request free promotional leaflets to issue to families or pupils.

About the Author