Young Chef 2020

District 1070 Finals (East) took place at the Thomas Deacon Academy in Peterborough early in February.

Young Chef Competition 2020

We understand there have been a record number of entries this year and the District Finals had to be held in two sessions across the day.

There was a delay at the start of the competition, due to some unforeseen problems with the cooking stations, but the competition soon got underway.

   Competitors with one of the judgesCompetitors with one of the Judges.
Competitors had to produce a three-course menu, using seasonal ingredients at a cost of less than £20, in a two-hour period, then present a place setting to show off their finished dishes.

The Rotary Club of Oadby Launde sponsored a student from the Leicester Grammar School, Lili Mepham, who had won the initial round of the competition held locally. 
   Lili at workLili at work  

 Under the scrutiny of the judgesUnder the scrutinity of the judges

Lili's 3 courses

Lili created a Colton Basset Blue Stilton and Leek Tart, served with a Watercress Salad, followed by North Atlantic Roast Cod, served on a bed of Winter Vegetable Ratatouille, with Fresh Lemon Beurre Blanc and to complete the meal, an East Farndon Blood Orange Panna Cotta, served with Mint Roasted Rhubarb.

Sadly, I was unable to try the finished products, but it looked divine! 

Despite her hard work and steady nerves, Lili was not placed this time in the competition, but hopes to be able to take part again next year.

She said, “I had a wonderful time participating in the Rotary Young Chef District Final competition yesterday. I am particularly grateful to yourself, the President, as well as the other Rotarians of the Oadby Launde Club for your continued and unwavering support. It was so lovely of you all to give up a day to come to support me, and it meant a huge amount.

The competition itself was a lot of fun but it was also so much more than that. I really think the whole process taught me a lot about the importance of planning, timing and working under pressure as well as taking care and pride in the presentation of what I do, skills that I am sure will help me in lots of things that I do in future. 

It is so nice that Rotary organise events such as this to help young people like me build our confidence and learn new skills, whilst doing something that we really enjoy. I will certainly be saying lots of very positive things about the whole experience when I return to school.“ 

The Young Chefs created a vast range of interesting and cosmopolitan dishes; the smell drifting from the kitchens was amazing and their presentation very professional.

We were lucky to have an experienced judging panel. Head Judge, Roger Sanderson, is a freelance chef from Leicestershire who is invited to judge cooking events across Europe and the USA. He is a barbeque specialist and has been judging Rotary events for many years. He will also be judging at the District West Finals.

Jill Buswell is a chef with years of experience and runs the Lime Kilns Brew Pub in Burbage. She too has worked with Rotary for many years and covers both District Finals.

Tracy Ford is a Chef from Boston and has covered District Finals East for the last three years. She works at the Boston County Club. 

Competition Placings:

First Place went to George Worthington who was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Stamford. George will now go forward to the Regional Finals. We would like to wish him every success.

Second Place was Danielle Hemphill sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sleaford Kesteven

Third Place was awarded to Jodie Wisker who was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bourne.

‘Dish of the Day’ was awarded to Ricardo Masson, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Peterborough Ortons. He created an Ecuadorian dish of cooked octopus! 

Certificates were presented by our own District Governor, Rodney Spokes. We were delighted our own RCOL President, Roger Corlett, and his wife were also able to attend. It was a great day, and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, thanks to the hard work of the organiser, Fay Barrett, along with all the Rotary Volunteers.

DG with organiser Fay Barrett and three judgesDistrict Governor Rodney Spokes with Organiser Fay Barrett and the three judges.   Lili Collecting her certificate from the DGLili collecting her certificate from the District Governor


Lesley Newton

Youth Services Officer


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