Some of Kent’s best young trainee cooks provided a taste of feasts to come during the final of a Masterchef-style competition last week.
The final of Young Cooks: The Professionals took place at Swale Skills Centre on Thursday (November 14).
Kent further education colleges nominated their best cookery students for the final, who prepared their dishes for a three-person team of judges.
The winner was Joshua Adams, 17, of West Kent College, who prepared a main of sous vide duck with clementine gel, mini potato fondants, caramelised baby carrots and broccoli puree. This was followed by deconstructed crème brûlée with candied clementine peel for dessert.
The runners-up were Ben Northwood, 18, from North Kent College and Chyna Whitley, also 18, from the Sittingbourne School Skills Academy.
Ben cooked teriyaki salmon and vanilla panna cotta.
Chyna prepared a main of poussin with cider gravy, spring onion mash, red cabbage and bacon crisp, with a pudding of cinnamon génoise sponge with apple compote, sliced apples glazed in brandy and apple crisp served with pumpkin spiced latte ice cream.
Competition coordinator Hannah Hawksworth said: “Many, many congratulations to Joshua for winning this year’s Young Cooks: The Professionals.
“And well done, too, to our two runners-up, who provided such stiff competition.
“Picking a single winner was so, so difficult for our judges, and the quality of the dishes was real testimony both to the expertise of the three students and of the FE staff preparing them for careers in the catering industry.”
The meals were judged by Marc Bridgen of award-winning Kent gastro-pub The Dog at Wingham, Gary Maryan of Southern Co-op, Jono Erodotou of SE Medical and Stuart Smith, the chairman of trustees of competition organiser the KM Charity Team.
Mr Erodotou said: “What a day we’ve had. It’s been great judging these young people, cooking professionally, making great food.”
Mr Bridgen said: “We’ve had a fantastic day today trying all the food. From a nervous start this morning, they really delivered some incredible flavours, wonderful presentation.”
And Mr Maryan described the recipes as “amazing”.
Joshua and the two-runners-up were all presented with cookware from retailer Lakeland and baking goodies from the Southern Co-op. They will also be treated to a gourmet meal at The Dog at Wingham.
Colleges interested in taking part in next year’s event should contact organiser Hannah Hawksworth of the KM Charity Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch a video about the final here: