Young chefs shine in schools competition final at Blackburn College

young chef winnersWINNERS of the Reg Johnson Young Chef Schools Competition have been honoured at Blackburn College’s training kitchens.

Nabil Hamzah and Waseem Iqbal from Blackburn Central High School were crowned the overall winners with Matthew Marriott from Haslingden High School taking second place.

Meagan Shovelton and Amelia Litherland from St Christopher’s Church of England High School Accrington came in third.

The competition was held in memory of late poultry farmer Reg Johnson to continue his passion for encouraging young talent within the catering and hospitality industry.

Judges were Nigel Haworth of Northcote and Paul Heathcote MBE.

“It has been quite amazing to see such a high technical standard of cooking from pupils so young and we have been delighted to see their enthusiasm and passion for food,” said Haworth.

“Paul and I have been astounded to see such advanced and difficult techniques used within the finals – who would have thought that Year 8 and 9 pupils would be able to make their own ice cream and Tortellini pasta!”

Heathcote added: “It has been a pleasure to see the pupils incorporate fresh seasonal ingredients into their dishes and demonstrate such patience and advanced technical ability.

“I know that Reg would have been so proud of what we have achieved and we hope that the competition will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Waseem and Nabil’s winning dish will be reproduced and on sale at Café Northcote at The National Festival of Making, held in Blackburn on May 12 and 13.

Blackburn Central High School will receive a piece of catering equipment and continued professional development sessions. Waseem and Nabil have also won a meal for six at Northcote from the acclaimed tasting menu.

Marc McCrone, the school’s food technology teacher, added: “Waseem and Nabil have worked so hard and they are absolutely delighted to have won. The whole school will be thrilled with the boys’ achievement.”

PICTURE: Nabil Hamza and Waseem Iqbal from Blackburn Central High School with the finalists and Nigel Haworth (right) and Paul Heathcote MBE

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