Rotary Club of Penrith
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An exciting cook-off took place this week when eight students, two male and six female, from Ullswater Community College and Queen Elizabeth Grammar School battled within a 60minute deadline to become top cooks and winners of the Penrith Rotary Club Ready Steady Cook Competition.
Around 250 Year 9 students were involved in this year's competition with the eight finalists cooking in front of 3 guest judges, Mrs Pat Russell, Chef Lecturer at the Lake District School of Food and Wine, Abe Camacho, Senior Sous Chef at the North Lakes Hotel and Mr Michael Woods, Commis Chef again from the North Lakes Hotel. An audience of friends and relatives as well as Rotarians all added to the pressure the students faced.
Frantic last minute presentational details were taking place as time was running out, and then it was over to the judges as the cooks nervously waited outside. After detailed judging and tasting of the two course meals, two winners emerged from the eight, one from each school, one male cook the other female.
With the cooks back in the hall, Master of Ceremonies, Rotarian Ken Sharp, called forward the winners, Isla Black from Queen Elizabeth and Czarek Flak from Ullswater.
Isla had impressed the judges with her 'Chicken and Vegetables in a honey and mustard sauce Stuffed Tomatoes with breadcrumbs, fried courgettes and potatoes, followed by Hot Raspberry Soufflé with cream and strawberry cloud'
Czarek had cooked, 'Chicken with herbs, mushrooms, onion and peppers served with a Herby Mash Stack, stuffed tomatoes and potato crisps, follows by Chocolate Basket with mixed Berries, honey flavoured Greek Yoghurt and caramelised sugar basket'
Judge Pat Russell said, 'It is never easy to separate out winners when so much effort goes into the dishes. The judges were impressed by the application of all finalists; it was not easy for them to cook under scrutiny and in the face of an interested audience. Having said that Isla and Czarek were worthy winners.'
The winning cooks each received a food processor, and a choice of cookery book. They now retain the Rotary Winners' Platter. The other six finalists each received a ProCook mandolin and a cookery book.
In making the presentation Rotary President Malcolm Boyd said, 'There is more to Rotary than raising money for good causes so we are delighted again to support this event. And didn't the cooks do well, not only the eight finalists but the others who competed in the preliminary rounds. Many thanks are due to school staff for organising the competition, to the judges who volunteered their time and to the parents and friends in the audience. Finally I would like to thank Saddleback Food and Smokehouse from Plumpton together with James Fruit and Vegetables who donated the key ingredients.'