The Search for the South’s Creative Young Cooks Launches in Brighton

Photo L - R: Host Chef, Andrew MacKenzie from The Restaurant at Drakes; Min Raisman, Director from fit2cook; and Steve Edwards from Etch foods and former Masterchef the Professionals Winner.

Photo L – R: Host Chef, Andrew MacKenzie from The Restaurant at Drakes; Min Raisman, Director from fit2cook; and Steve Edwards from Etch foods and former Masterchef the Professionals Winner.

Food teachers from across Brighton and Hove gathered together for the launch of the 2016 Create & Cook Competition to seek out the best young cooks across the South on 11th November.

The innovative competition, run by fit2cook food education and sponsored by The Southern Co-operative, gives 12-14 year olds the opportunity to create their own menus inspired by the produce grown and produced around them.

The launch, held at The Restaurant at Drakes, saw 12 local schools attend to get stuck in and hear about local foods from The Restaurant at Drakes chef, Andrew MacKenzie and former Masterchef the Professionals Winner and founder of Etch, Steve Edwards.

Min Raisman, Director of fit2cook food education, said: “Understanding how food is produced, grown and reared and also appreciating that food buying choices have consequences – environmentally, socially and economically, I believe makes people better cooks. This is the essence of the competition”.

Now in its seventh year, the Create & Cook Competition allows young cooks from schools across Hampshire, Sussex, Isle of Wight and Brighton and Hove to enter through their food technology department. County cook-offs will pave the way for finalists to compete to be crowned the overall champion in June 2016, winning £1,000 for their school’s Food Technology Department and a pestle and mortar fit2cook trophy.

Local Sourcing Manager at The Southern Co-operative, Kate Hibbert, said: “It’s so encouraging to see young cooks engage with local food, something we’re extremely passionate about as a regional business. Whilst it is challenging for them to cook in front of a panel of professional chefs and judges, our previous entrants have relished the opportunity, and the standard of cooking is outstanding; it’s very rewarding”.

To enter, students in pairs need to design a two course menu using as many local ingredients as possible. The closing date for entries is Friday 18th March 2016. More information about entry requirements can be found here: http://www.fit2cook.co.uk/createandcook.

Ms Raisman continued: “As well as designing a two course meal which uses local ingredients from the entrants’ home county, the young cooks, who work in pairs, have to compete a questionnaire about the production, character and uniqueness of their key ingredients. They also need to display an understanding of why it’s important to buy local”.

Additional launches for the competition will be taking place across November at the Season Cookery School at Lainston House in Winchester, Field & Fork Restaurant in Chichester, and Little Gloster Restaurant on the Isle of Wight.

The Create & Cook Competition is sponsored by The Southern Co-operative and additionally supported by the south’s local food community, including the launch host venues and chefs, Hampshire Fare, Hampshire Farmers’ Markets, Newlyns Cookery School and Wightlink.