posted on February 01, 2016 10:09
The Young Chef District Semi Finals were held at The Cotswolds School, Bourton in the Water on Saturday 30/01/2016
It was an early start to drive Sarah Chappell and her mum to Bourton on the Water for 9.30am. Still we were there in plenty of time and stood among the other nonchalant contestants, slightly nervous, but proud parents and patriarchal Rotarians. Following the welcome and introductions, we were all ushered out of the room to leave the contestants to get on uninterrupted. Mrs Chappell and I spent the morning strolling around the beautiful Cotswold village chatting and sampling the tea rooms and coffee shops. My recommendation would be the Bakery at the far end of the village and across the stream.
We were back for 12noon for the judging. The competitors, 7 girls and 1 boy, had been asked to cook a 3 course healthy meal for 2 people for under £15. As the competitors completed each course one plate was given to the judges and the other laid out on the table they set. The table setting was one element judged by the judges and the competitors had put real thought and attention to detail into their table presentation - menus, flowers or centrepiece, crockery and tablecloth, many fit for the finest restaurant.
I wondered whether clearing up should have been a criteria in the judging too? Once we’d looked at the tables of each competitor we went into the kitchens to join them. While the other parents and Rotarians busied themselves clearing and washing up after their entrants, we stood chatting to a chilled out Sarah, who had washed up and tidied her area all in the allotted time.
Sarah had changed her menu from the first round, serving up tomato soup with bread rolls (making the dough and baking them in the allotted time), lamb tagine with couscous and a chocolate and berry pot. I wondered, though I would not say it to anyone, if she had just made the chocolate fondant she made in the first round if this might have secured a victory? But then she is not that type of person; she likes to try new things all the time.
In the end she came a very resectable third and she was quite happy with that. “It’s nicer to have a place than being unplaced” So we returned to Malvern happily, me to watch the rugby, Sarah to get on with revision for her mock exams which start on Monday.