Young Chef 2016 - District Final

The District Final of the Young Chef competition took place on March 5, 2016 at Chelmsford College with Our Billericay contestant, Emily Hughes, taking part.

It turned out alright at the End

What a day!  It was District Young Chef competition at Chelmsford College the day after we got back from Wales. Should I go? James (Youth Officer) had to work that day, so I thought I had better support our candidate in the Final, take a few photos of her in action, and be able to report back to the club on how she did.

An inauspicious start - a drive to Chelmsford in the rain, only to arrive at the college in Moulsham Street, as instructed, to find the college closed and the gates locked!  ... But there was another campus - could I have been given the wrong location?  Quickly drove round to the Princes Street Campus, and rushed in.  It was the right location!  Phew!!

Was I too late?  No.  Only two candidates were there.  Could the others also have been given the wrong instructions?  Back in the car, back round to Moulsham Street, and yes - they were all there and some had been waiting for over an hour - almost on the point of giving up and going home!  We all went back to the correct location and the three contestants carried all their equipment and food in to the kitchen, and started set-up for the competition.

Gloria Nicholls was in charge on the day, and ran everything extremely well, supported by other members of her club, Rotary Club of Brentwood Breakfast.  At 10.15, a 15 minute delay to allow the newcomers time to calm down and get ready, the competition started.  Two hours to cook a three course meal, provide two servings of each course - one for tasting, and one for a presentation table where the presentation of each course could be judged.

But our travails were not over yet.  The photographer was no show.  I was press-ganged into taking over, which I was happy to do but my camera battery was low - I knew I had enough power to take a few photos of Emily, but I hadn't counted on taking the whole competition.  We just made it, taking phots of the prize winners just before the battery died.

Who were the competitors?
  • Emily Hughes - Billericay

  • Fern Lawrence - Bishops Stortford

  • Samuel Staples - Harlow

  • Daniel Rooke - Thurrock Gateway

  • Alice Robinson - Southend on Sea

And the Judges?

  • Kier Keeble - Chelmsford College
  • Darren Jones - Jamie's Trattoria
  • Geraldine Beaurain - representing Mary's Meals

District Governor Alan Clark and his wife Celia, and Mayor of Chelmsford, Paul Hutchinson, also arrived mid-morning to lend moral support to the competitors, provide encouragement and present the prizes at the end.

Two hours to cook the food, but over an hour for the judges to decide on a winner, and a Runner-Up.  Finally, the wait was over.

DG Alan Clark and Mayor Paul presented each competitor with a certificate for taking part, and a "Goody Bag" in recognition of their efforts.  Then over to Darren Jones to announce the winners.

First - the Runner-Up - Harlow's Samuel Staples.
Then the Winner - Bishop Stortford's Fern Lawrence.

Congratulations to all the competitors and especially the Winner and Runner-Up.

And especially to Emily, who was a close second place in our Billericay competition, and had stepped in at only four days' notice when the original winner could not be there on the day. She did extremely well on the day in view of how little planning and preparation time she had.

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