Young Chef 2013 Billericay Prizegiving

Wed, Feb 27th 2013 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Following the very successful Billericay Young Chef of the year competition at Mayflower school, organized by the Rotary Club of Billericay, a prize-giving was held at the Reading Rooms in Billericay High Street on February 27th, 2013.

Billericay Rotarian Young Chef of the Year 2013

The presentation to the Prizewinners of the Billericay Young Chef of the Year 2013 took place on Wednesday evening February 27th. 2013 at the Reading Rooms in Billericay High Street.  The event was sponsored by Trevor Draper, the Chief Judge of the Billericay competition, who is the proprietor of The Billericay Cookshop and The Emporium in Billericay High Street.  Our thanks to Trevor and his wife Lesley for providing the drinks and snacks to the assembled guests, and most importantly, for sponsoring the prizes and Trophy for the competition winner.

The evening started with a brief introduction from Rotary Club of Billericay President Trevor Stansfield, and from Trevor Draper, who gave tribute to the quality of the cooking in the competition.

In front of their parents and teachers the three successful winners -- James Whitehead (1st), Imogen Harris (2nd) and Ella Yuill (3rd) were each invited up to receive their prizes, with James being honoured with the Trophy as "Billericay Rotarian Young Chef of the Year". But that is only the start of James’s cooking success.

James represented Mayflower Schools in a team of four with entries also from Billericay School and St John’s.  And the judges decided that his entry was a worthy winner.  He has since gone on to win the District Final at Chelmsford College and will compete in the Regional Finals to be held in Ipswich on March 16.  The winner there will compete in the National Finals in London.



On the previous Monday, James and his mother, Lorraine, were guests of the Rotary Club of Billericay at the club’s weekly lunch in the Ivory Rooms. The club's current president, Trevor Stansfield has organised the local competition for many years.
James, 14, said: “This is a very proud moment for me and for the school. I never expected to get this far against such strong opposition.”
Now in year ten at Mayflower School, James took up cooking at home when he was seven years old.  “I used to watch Mum in the kitchen and have learned a lot from her. I had a choice in the school’s Product Designation scheme – food or woodwork. I chose to cook.”
James from Ramsden Heath, is adept at PE and studying French, Maths and English among his school subjects. He adds: “Mum still lets me cook at home on special occasions.  But I have to choose vegetarian dishes since my family, including my 17-year old brother, don’t eat meat.  I used to be a veggie until I was about 12 but now  I do enjoy a meat dish – chicken and lamb.
“My winning dish was very Italian – I love cooking Italian at home.”
Mum, Lorraine says: “We are so proud of James.  I did not encourage him specifically to cook but, when I realised he had some talent, I have been delighted with his ability and his success. And his meals at home are a special treat.”
Rotary Club president, Trevor Stansfield said:  “We all wish James well in the next round. He has done his school and the district very proud.”
Trevor Draper, proprietor of The Billericay
Cookshop and The Emporium,  was chief judge at the local competition, said: “This was an outstanding dish – three clever and brilliant courses.”  Also a judge was Mario Pozzi from Taste Italia in Ramsden Heath – one expert judging another!

Our thanks to Trevor and his wife Lesley for providing the drinks and snacks to the assembled guests, and most importantly, for sponsoring the prizes and Trophy for the competition winner.
James’s Choice (for cooks everywhere!)


Prawns in mango, chilli and lime salsa


Pea, mint and egg yoke raviolo with one big onion and sage burnt butter sauce


Lime posset with mild chilli, sugar and crystallised caramel topping


All other ingredients, James admits are “secret”. Try this at home!

Our local paper, the Billericay Gazette reported on the Prizegiving and James' success with an article on March 6th., 2013 which you can find by clicking on the Gazette logo below:

(Reproduced with kind permission of the Brentwood, Billericay and Wickford Gazette and editor, Neville Wilson.)

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