Talented Young Cooks Battle It Out With Locally Inspired Menus

Eight teen cooks from Sussex will cook locally inspired dishes for a panel of expert judges in a bid to be crowned the ‘Sussex Champion’ in the regional final of the Create & Cook Competition at City College Brighton on Wednesday.

The Sussex final of the Create & Cook Competition, which is run by fit2cook food education and sponsored by The Southern Co-operative, aims to nurture young talent and celebrate local food.

The competition encourages students aged between 13 and 14 to create and cook a two course menu using as many Sussex sourced ingredients as possible.

Create & Cook Sussex winners 2015: Charlotte Cole (L) and Jasmine Cheeseman from Angmering School

Create & Cook Sussex winners 2015: Charlotte Cole (L) and Jasmine Cheeseman from Angmering School

Min Raisman from fit2cook food education who runs the Create & Cook Competition said: “The standard in Sussex this year is incredibly high and we are delighted to see so many locally produced ingredients featuring in the young cook’s menus. The dishes have included vegetables and herbs grown in school kitchen gardens, to locally caught mackerel, Sussex asparagus and rhubarb and even local butter”.

This is the first year schools in Brighton and Hove have been invited to take part in the competition and have delighted the judges with their creative and skilful menus.  The young cooks have extensively researched to hunt out local ingredients to feature in their dishes and the wonderful menus in the final show real young talent.

The finalists include:

  • Ben Spooner and Harvey Walters from Varndean School, Brighton who will be cooking a seasonal fish and seafood stew with homemade bread and aioli, plus a Sussex Downs meringue with fresh soured cream and local berries.
  • Henry Bryant and Joe Levy from Blatchington Mill School, Hove producing smoked hake, beans and greens served with Sussex chorizo, plus a rhubarb and ginger fool with homemade butter shortbread.
  • Akram Bouabane and Kyle Hobson from Oak Grove College, Worthing will be presenting their home smoked chicken with salad leaves, plus spiced mackerel with a rhubarb butter sauce, asparagus bundles and minted new potatoes
  • Hannah Lipton and Emily Dicker from Bishop Luffa School, Chichester whose menu focuses on locally reared pork for their stroganoff served with herby crushed potatoes and seasonal vegetables and for their dessert raspberry crème brulee with homemade shortbread.

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. My role involves working closely with more than 100 producers across Hampshire, Sussex and Isle of Wight to source the best local produce for our Local Flavours range, and it’s rewarding to see how well these ingredients have been used by our Create and Cook finalists. The standard of finalists this year is extremely high, the judges will certainly have a tough decision trying to decide on a winner!”

Judging the young cooks will be Brighton-based chef and former Drakes Restaurant chef, Andrew Mackenzie, Director of fit2cook food education, Min Raisman and Retail Business Manager for The Southern Co-operative Selsey store, Steph Clarke.

The winners of the Sussex heat will go on to the Final of the Create & Cook Competition on 21st June at Newlyns Cookery School in Hook, Hampshire. The finalists will then cook against fellow county competition finalists from Hampshire and Isle of Wight schools, aiming to win the 2016 Create & Cook Competition trophy which is currently held by students at Christ the King College on the Isle of Wight.

To find out more about the Create & Cook Competition, please visit www.fit2cook.co.uk/createandcook.