Fleetwood’s Young Chefs are really cooking!

Katie Stafford is the new Fleetwood Young Chef of the Year. The 10 year old student from Charles Saer school was awarded the title after a ‘cook-off’ at Twelve Restaurant, Marsh Mill, Thornton with 4 other local primary age children.
The competition, in its second year, is organised by Healthier Fleetwood to develop cookery skills and nutritional knowledge among year 5 and 6 pupils. All of Fleetwood’s primary schools were invited to take part and send a finalist to prepare a three-course menu and drink for their ‘hero’ whether that be somebody they know personally or a celebrity.

Katie’s winning menu was noodle broth with prawns for the starter, a main course of chicken skewers on a bed of rice with sweet chilli sauce and yoghurt and mint dip with fresh figs with yoghurt for dessert accompanied by a honey, pineapple smoothie. The judges, who included last year’s winner Alfie Hall, thought all the meals were stunning, showed great technique and thought, and the enthusiasm and attitude of the chefs was outstanding.

The other finalists were Jacob Brayshaw of Shakespeare School, Josh Hayes of Flakefleet School, and Liam Dempsey and Carley Oakley of Chaucer School.

Dr Mark Spencer of Mount View surgery and a leading member of Healthier Fleetwood was also a judge. He said. “The Young Chef competition has been the most uplifting thing I’ve been involved in, in all my years as a GP. The smiles on the children’s faces lasted from Friday morning, when they walked into the restaurant, to Saturday afternoon when they left. It was an absolute delight to see.”

The resources for the competition were designed by Katharine Tate, The Food Teacher™ and her team as part of an initiative to roll out similar projects across the Country. The award was developed to improve the health and well-being of young people and their families through nutrition and cooking.

The programme is now available to all schools and covers the National Curriculum but can also be taught ​during after-school clubs. Once schools sign up they receive online access to all the resources, pupil printed journal, certificates and on-going support.

Funding to deliver the Fleetwood competition was provided by Fylde & Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group while Twelve Restaurant provided their facilities and the expertise of their kitchen and service staff for the final and a celebration lunch for the children and their families.

The lunch included a main course supplied by Fleetwood-based My Fish Company who have also been involved offering visits to their premises so the children could see fresh fish and understand more about it’s preparation.

There was also a live link-up with Chef Harry Lomas MBE during the lunch. Lancashire-born Harry is now the Executive Chef at Wembley Stadium and has been involved in the competition from the start but was unable to attend this year due to work commitments. With the famous stadium in the background he gave the finalists feedback and advice on their menus and announced the winner.

As part of their prize package the finalists also received aprons sponsored by the Rotary Club of Fleetwood and a range of books supplied by Penguin Random House, Murdoch Books, Grub Street and the Guild of Food Writers.

Mark Spencer added. “We’d like to thank all our partners for their amazing support in presenting this competition, especially Caroline, Paul and everyone at Twelve who hosted the cook-off and the lunch. Plans for next year’s competition are already underway and we look forward to welcoming another group of talented young chefs from Fleetwood.”

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