Search

Cream rises to the top in Havering young chef battle

07:00 07 May 2014

Winner Melissa (middle) with the runners up and judges Paul Gayler (far left) and Matt Smith (far right)

Winner Melissa (middle) with the runners up and judges Paul Gayler (far left) and Matt Smith (far right)

Archant

Four of the most talented young chefs in Havering went head to head in a MasterChef style battle at Havering College on Thursday to find the borough’s best young cook.

The diners perspective

Havering College were kind enough to invite me along to the final of Young Chef 2014 and I was treated to a three course meal prepared and served by students at various levels of catering education.

The first thing to say about the college is that their Jubilee Restaurant is an impressive facility, despite the fact it’s inside a college complex, as soon as you walk in you definitely get that proper restaurant feel.

Well dressed and courteous staff in a modern, minimalist environment of clean contrast interior design really gives a professional impression and sets the tone nicely for the meal.

On the menu for me was Green Risotto with green beans, peas and parsley topped with a rocket and Parmesan salad followed by a main of Marinated Salmon served with chilli and lime cous cous topped with Gaufrette potatoes, all rounded off by a lemon and ginger tart served with a ginger and orange sorbet.

The risotto starter was creamy and filling, nicely complimented by the fresh crunchy salad with shaved Parmesan and the salmon main had a real full bodied fish punch to it, cut through well by the lime citrus in the cous cous.

To finish off the lemon and ginger tart was a light refreshing end to the meal, full of sharp citrus and ginger flavours, nicely cleaning the pallet and rounding off a very enjoyable dining experience.

John Toner

The youngsters were battling it out to be crowned Havering and Brentwood Schools’ Young Chef of the Year in the Jubilee Restaurant at the Havering College Quarles Campus in Harold Hill.

After much chopping, stirring, grilling, roasting and even a little blow-torching, the coveted trophy was awarded to Melissa Davis, 15, a Year 10 pupil at Coopers’ Company and Coborn School.

Melissa said: “I was shocked at being announced as the winner, I honestly couldn’t believe it and did not expect it at all.”

“It has been a lovely experience, I found it challenging cooking under pressure but I was used top it as I have been preparing for the competition for a while.”

Contestant Casey Joiner-O'Riordan carefully preparing her dishContestant Casey Joiner-O'Riordan carefully preparing her dish

Melissa’s mum Hilary Davis, 47, said: “It’s overwhelming and amazing that she won, it’s the culmination of a whole months work. We’ll be going home to celebrate but not for long because Melissa has school in the morning!”

Supporters including teachers and family members watched the cooking action live thanks to a video link filmed by two of the college’s media students, Ali Saula and Chris Montengo.

Ms Davis said: “It was like watching big brother, there was no sound and it made us all nervous for them as they were cooking.”

Each of the contestants prepared a three course meal which was judged by celebrity chef Paul Gayler MBE and former competitor Matt Smith, 19, now a commis chef at the five star Park Lane hotel.

Judges Paul Gayler (left) and Matt Smith (right) get stuck in to some culinary offeringsJudges Paul Gayler (left) and Matt Smith (right) get stuck in to some culinary offerings

Mr Gayler said: “As a chef with more than 40 years’ experience, I do a lot of judging both here and abroad but I particularly enjoy this competition for young students.

“It is so refreshing to see these young people coming up with original and exciting dishes.

“It just shows their love for food and what they have been able to produce in very formal conditions is commendable.

“The standard of food was very high and only seven marks separated top from bottom, it was difficult but we had to choose a winner.”

In the end there can be only oneIn the end there can be only one

The Havering College competition was launched eight years ago to encourage young people to prepare and cook food, develop their knowledge and appreciation of fresh ingredients and give them a flavour for a career as a professional chef.

Supporting judge Matt Smith, now a commis chef at the five star Park Lane Hotel, is a former competitor who went on to gain his catering qualifications at Havering College.

Matt said: “It’s fantastic to be invited back into my old college as a judge I remember what it was like to be in the competition. I was every bit as nervous as these finalists.”

Runners-up Viktoria Figula-Dera, 14, Casey Joiner-O’Riordan, 15, and Eleanor Webb, 16, also received indvidual trophies.

----

Read more:

-Boris Johnson sweeps through Romford town centre

- Man taken to hospital after getting ‘trapped under car’ in Romford

Latest Romford News Stories

07:00
St Leonard's children's home, Hornchurch Road, Hornchurch. Credit: Historic England

A man who spent 12 years living in a care home where children were sexually abused, said a public inquiry launched 30 years after the events has come too late.

24 minutes ago
Residents gathered in front of the Town Hall last night to protest against plans to build 32 homes on the green off New Zealand Way

Delighted residents celebrated last night after plans to build 32 homes on their “green gem” were refused.

08:00
German prisoners help to carry British wounded back to their trenches after an attack by XIV (Irish) Corps on Bavarian units holding Ginchy during the Battle of the Somme. Picture: PA/EMPICS

Historian Jim Bolton has, for many years, researched the names on Romford War Memorial and the memorial in St Edward the Confessor Church.

07:00
Suzie Ibrahim, Isaac Truman, Ela Ibrahim and Suzanne Truman

A devoted mum has called for more research into a rare disorder after having to rely on a social media forum to protect her little girl’s health.

Yesterday, 17:27
The National Union of Tecahers has called for a one-day strike on Tuesday

Teachers in Havering could walk out of their classrooms next week after a union called for a strike action.

Yesterday, 16:15
A British Grenadier Guardsman keeping watch on No Man's Land as his comrades sleep in a captured German trench at Ovillers, near Albert, during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Picture: PA/EMPICS

Countries across the world are coming together tomorrow to commemorate the First World War’s bloodiest battle, which saw thousands of British men, young and old, killed and wounded – including some of Havering’s own.

Yesterday, 14:01
NHS England has put Havering CCG under performance management over waiting times. Credit: PA Images

The length of waiting times has seen Havering’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), put under the direct supervision of NHS England.

Yesterday, 12:26
Spelling Bee's Arbi Bytyqi and Matthew Harris with teacher Nicole Machin

Winning a national foreign language spelling bee won’t be as easy as ABC for three students.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Copyright: Erich Spiegelhalter/Schwarzwald

Embark on a three day round trip (including flights) during which you will taste local specialities such as the famous Black Forest Gateau, discover nature, absorb vibrant city culture, learn about technological innovations, indulge yourself in the plentiful wellness spas, take some shots on the golf course, and enjoy family fun at Germany’s largest theme park.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe