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. A total of 550 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.
Lucas chose his Mum as his ‘HERO’ and designed his menu with her in mind. He impressed the judges with his three-course menu of vegetable and vermicelli soup, Thai salmon with quinoa and honey glazed carrots and apple crumble served with whipped cream.
“I had great fun and all I did was enjoy it!” says Lucas.
“From start to finish the process of the Young Chef award was a brilliant experience for the children,” teacher Claire Woods says. “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.”
For his prize, Lucas has won 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 from 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,” says Lomas. “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 Food Teacher team, who organised the final, have worked closely with The Rotary Club of Welwyn Garden City, which sponsored and supported the event.
“Welwyn Garden City RC were only too pleased to grab the opportunity of supporting The Food Teacher and their excellent work by helping to mount this event,” says John Walton, president of The Rotary Club. “For the last 30 years we have organised a local heat of the Rotary Young Chef competition for secondary age students and this was a perfect complement to that.”
Many other individuals and organisations enabled the event to take place and the hard work of classroom teachers, parents and 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, Waitrose and Ridgeway Academy. Students from Oaklands College photographed and filmed the event.
“Teaching children the importance of food for their health is essential and this challenge provides that opportunity within a practical, purposeful and engaging context,” says The team at The Food Teacher. “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 visit youngchefoftheyear.com