Isle of Wight young cooks battle it out with locally inspired menus

IOW Create & Cook competition winners Tessa Crosbie (L) and Jessica Case Christ the King College May 2015

Photo: Tessa Crosbie (left) and Jessica Case from Christ the King College won the Isle of Wight final of the regional Create & Cook competition with their menu inspired by Island produce.

Tessa Crosbie and Jessica Case from Christ the King College turned up the heat in the kitchen to win this year’s Isle of Wight final of the 2015 Create & Cook Competition.

The Island’s cookery competition final was fought between eight young cooks aged 12-14 years in the new catering kitchens of Cowes Enterprise College (Thursday 7th May). The brief of the Competition, which is run by fit2cook food education and sponsored by The Southern Co-operative with support from Wightlink, was to create and cook a 2 course menu using as many Isle of Wight sourced ingredients as possible. The competition, which has the support of top chefs on the Island, aims to nurture young talent and celebrate local food.

Winners Tessa Crosbie and Jessica Case from Christ the King College, cooked their menu of confit of salmon with a new potato and crab crush served with asparagus, followed by chocolate cakes served with homemade berry ice cream. Judging the cooks were Jay Santiago, head chef from The Little Gloster, Min Raisman from fit2cook food education and Mark Mullan, Retail Business Manager of The Southern Co-operative’s Cowes store in Mill Hill Road. Head chef Jay said: “I was impressed with the girls’ skills, particularly their knife skills. The poached fish was delicious and expertly cooked. It went really well with their crab, new potato and dill creation and local Island asparagus. Tess and Jess are worthy winners.”

The other contestants, all from Cowes Enterprise College, also worked hard on sourcing their local ingredients; Amy Morris and Brooke Norman incorporated local black bream and huss to make a creamy fish crumble, Amy Hudgell and Nicole Anderson featured Isle of Wight tomatoes in their tomato and pepper soup whilst Adam Jordan and Katylin Bacon made a shortbread and berry tower with local Calbourne Mill flour. Kate Hibbert, Local Sourcing Manager for The Southern Co-operative, said: “The Create & Cook Competition challenges young cooks to think about sustainability and the importance of supporting local farmers and food producers through their ingredient sourcing. This goes hand in hand with our own sourcing objectives for our Local Flavours range, available in all our Isle of Wight stores.”

As winners, Tessa and Jessica will have their recipes professionally styled and photographed. They now go on to the Regional Final of the Create & Cook Competition June, to be held at Newlyns Cookery School in Hampshire on 25 June. Here they will cook against fellow county competition finalists from Hampshire and Sussex schools, aiming to hold onto the title of Create & Cook Competition champions for the Isle of Wight, won last year by Joe Doncaster and Alice Hyde from Sandown Bay Academy. If they succeed, they will also win £1000 for their school food technology department. To find out more visit fit2cook.co.uk