First Welwyn Hatfield Young Chef Competition

Nine local primary schools who had taken part in The Food Teacher's Young Chef Award sent a pupil to cook the 3-course meal they had designed for their hero.

Welwyn Hatfield Young Chef of 2020

Nine year old, Lucas Brooks from St Michael's Woolmer Green VA C of E School has won the Welwyn Hatfield Young Chef of 2020. The Year 5 pupil competed against eight other fantastic finalists from Welwyn Hatfield primary schools at Ridgeway Academy on Friday 7th February. Five hundred and fifty children across Welwyn Hatfield completed the Young Chef of  the Year Award, which teachers delivered in schools and used to identify the finalists. The award, which was developed by The Food Teacher™ team, here in Hertfordshire, aims to improve long-term health by educating children about food and nutrition.

The event was the culmination of a collaboration between The Food Teacher and Welwyn Garden City Rotary Club. It started with the club sponsoring a kit of equipment so that Watchlytes Primary School could take part in The Food Teacher’s programme last summer. The programme is based on the book “No Kitchen Cookery for Primary Schools” by Katharine Tate the founder of The Food Teacher.  This was so successful that 12 local primary schools completed the programme during the Autumn Term. This warranted a celebration event that allowed one student from each school to cook the 3 course meal that they had designed for their “hero” with an adult helper.  WGC Rotary Club has been running a local heat of the Rotary Young Chef competition for over 20 years so supporting this event complemented that well.  We have been impressed by the response of the children and the schools to the programme and this event was a fitting culmination.

Lucas chose his Mum as his ‘HERO’ and designed his menu with her in mind. He impressed the judges with his 3-course menu of vegetable and vermicelli soup, Thai salmon with quinoa and honey glazed carrots and apple crumble served with whipped cream. Commenting after the announcement at the awards ceremony Lucas said, “I had great fun and all I did was enjoy it!”

His class teacher Claire Woods commented, “From start to finish the process of the Young Chef award was a brilliant experience for the children. They loved learning new skills and preparing a variety of different foods. As a teacher I found the project well resourced and very organised and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience - we will definitely take part again.”

Lucas wins a day’s experience working with the Head Chef Andrew Parkinson at The Grove Hotel, the Welwyn Hatfield Young Chef of the Year 2020 trophy, a selection of recipe books and some goodies from Rude Health.

Judges included Chef Harry Lomas (MBE), Head of Culinary at Wembley Stadium, Gemma Hollis, Branch Chef at the Welwyn Garden City branch of Waitrose, and Katharine Tate, Director of The Food Teacher™. Judge Harry Lomas (MBE) was so impressed with the skills, creativity and dishes prepared by the children he expressed the challenges in choosing a winner. “All the children were fantastic and many of the dishes I would add to my menus. It was a challenge finding a winner but Lucas stood out for the quality of his food, the balance on his plate and his independence throughout the afternoon.”

The Mayor, Councillor Roger Trigg and Mayoress Mrs Carole Trigg also attended the event. He said, “The importance of learning skills including food hygiene and sourcing, together with using cross curricular areas gave the children confidence and enthusiasm which will benefit them and their families for the rest of their lives.”

Many other individuals and organisations enabled the event to take place and the hard work of classroom teachers and parents/carers has been fundamental to its success. Support has also been given from The Restaurant Group plc, the Welwyn Garden City branch of Waitrose, Rude Health, Healthier Fleetwood and Ridgeway Academy. Students from Oaklands College photographed and filmed the event, which will be released in the near future.

The team at The Food Teacher™ add, “Teaching children the importance of food for their health is essential and this challenge provides that opportunity within a practical, purposeful and engaging context. The focus and pride on the children’s faces throughout the afternoon was priceless and we look forward to more events of this nature in the future.”

For further information about this award, for recipes to try at home and for information about the Younger (ages 6-7) and Youngest (ages 3+) Chef programmes visit

The Food Teacher would welcome support from other Rotary clubs in mounting similar events in areas where there are a number of primary schools using their programme.  WGC’s contribution was in arranging access to sponsorship and the venue, providing a winner’s trophy and aprons for the competitors (Rotary-badged as well as with The Food Teacher logo!) and organising refreshments.

For further info, contact Rtn John Walton or Katharine Tate

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