Rotary Wheel

The Rotary Club of Colwall in the Malvern Hills

Year 10 pupils from the Chase School were eager to get slicing and dicing for this year’s Rotary Young Chef competition, which was sponsored by Colwall Rotary Club.

Staff at the School had organized the earlier rounds of the competition and nine finalists had won through to this stage.

Menus – of either a starter and a main course or a main course and a dessert – had been carefully selected and trialed, with the ingredients purchased for under £10.> The contestants were judged on a variety of skills: planning of menu, healthy choices, cost, organization of their working area, hygiene, the range of skills used in the preparation of the menu and, of course, the taste and presentation of the dishes.

It is always a delight to see the enthusiasm and focus of the Young Chefs as they prepare their meals. This year was no exception and the variety of food produced was both exciting to see and mouth watering to taste.

Starters included Baked Goats Cheese with caramelised onions and bruschetta; a chilled chilli salad; field mushrooms stuffed with brie. Main courses included chicken stuffed with pesto and mozzarella and wrapped in Parma ham; smoked paprika and sausage goulash; ham, leek and cheese quiche. For dessert there was sticky sesame bananas with caramel; trifle; chocolate mousse and lemon meringue fool.

Knife skills were much in evidence, as would be expected in such a competition, but also making caramel, baking a pastry case blind, making pizza dough, cooking rice perfectly, the preparation of well seasoned sauces and an awareness of texture and flavour. Every dish tasted had some element that made us go back for second spoonfuls. Even Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would have been impressed with the pizza dough and the quiche with the perfectly baked bottom!

It was not easy to choose the winning contestants, as the standard was so high. In third place was Georgina Atkinson with her delicious smoked paprika sausage goulash followed by sticky sesame bananas. All the judges would have happily polished off the goulash as the sauce was superb. In second place was James Smith, who gave us the Mediterranean bruschetta and a most beautifully presented chicken breast stuffed with pesto and mozarella and wrapped in Parma ham. His home made pesto was absolutely delicious. But the first prize went to Lucy Woodward with her delicious ham, leek and cheese quiche followed by a trifle full of different textures and flavours which titillated the taste buds.

All the contestants were presented with certificates and the three placed contestants received cookery books. The winner goes on to the next stage of the Rotary Young Chef Competition, which is a national competition. We must thank the Malvern Hills Hotel for their support; soon in the new year the winner will have the opportunity to cook her menu at the Hotel and to serve it to the members and wives of Colwall Rotary Club.

Those members of staff at the Chase who work with the contestants, must feel very proud of the high standards achieved by the nine students. What a great partnership!
Posted in: Community Service
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