Young Chefs compete for champion status in Lancashire Young Student Chef award

PUBLISHED: 12:03 03 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:30 20 February 2013

The winner with her trophy

The winner with her trophy

Chelsea is our champion young chef and wins a job offer

Concentration was etched on the faces of four teenage chefs as they cooked against the clock to prove themselves the best in the county.

Under the watchful eye of three of Lancashires kitchen masters, the young college students were out to impress for the second consecutive day in the unique surroundings of the Pavilion Theatre in Blackpools Winter Gardens.

The occasion was the final of the first Lancashire Young Student Chef competition, supported by Lancashire Life. Outside the theatre, where family, friends and fellow students gave support and encouragement to the contestants, traders quietly went about their business, manning the 169 stands that made up the Lancashire Hotel, Catering and Hospitality Show.

Eight colleges were represented in the competition: Accrington and Rossendale, Blackburn, Blackpool and The Fylde, Preston, Nelson and Colne, Runshaw, Manchester and Hopwood Hall.

Four students made their exit after the first days heats. Twenty-four hours later, the heat was on again - literally - as the judges, three of Lancashires leading chefs, put the finalists through their paces.

And after the final gas ring had been extinguished, it was 18-year-old Manchester College student Chelsea Taylor who claimed the title and, perhaps more importantly, the offer of a job at The Villa in Wrea Green, where chief judge Nigel Smith is chef patron.

Clutching some of her prizes, triumphant Chelsea said: Our lecturers enter us for a lot of competitions, so we do get used to the pressure and the atmosphere, she said. I just get on with it, really, although Im obviously delighted to win.

Its great to be offered a job at the end of it and Im really looking forward to working at Nigels restaurant in the future.

Nigel told the audience there had been little between the finalists and that the judges would be happy to have any of the four working in their kitchens. Beaten narrowly into second place was Blackburn Colleges Daniel Caldwell, with the other finalists being Kara Kerslake of Hopwood Hall College, and Jonathan Golding of Nelson and Colne, both 18.

Nigel was full of praise for the contestants and the competition itself. This was a great showcase for these young students, he said. I would really like to see the competition grow next year, with 12 colleges taking part.
Fellow judges Paul Rowley, of the Lindum Hotel, St Annes, and Paul Moss, of Twelve Restaurant in Thornton, were equally impressed by the students.

Paul said: Its reassuring to know that the future of British catering is in the hands of these young up-and-coming hopefuls.

Paul added he was delighted to see the students listening to the advice being given by the judges. It was great to see them coming back on the second day, having refined their dishes and obviously having taken on board our comments.

Nigel added that all three judges were keen to set up a forum to help build a better relationship with the colleges. Were keen to develop that working relationship so that we can help budding chefs of the future, he said.

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