Wandsworth Young Chef Competition Launched

With teens from seven local schools battling it out in the kitchen

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Louis Butler-Deacon from Southfields Academy with Nick Vadis and one of the chefs who will mentor students, James Hart

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Schoolchildren who aspire to be professional chefs will be fighting it out to win the title of Wandsworth Young Chef of the year, gaining vital skills and experience along the way.

Youngsters will be offered young people training, mentoring and valuable experience in the catering industry with a view to helping them get jobs in the future.

The scheme has been officially launched by the mayor of Wandsworth, Angela Graham. She has pledged to spend her mayoral year creating opportunities for young people. She has teamed up with Nick Vadis, UK Executive Chef of the major catering contractor Compass. He has agreed to provide chefs to mentor all the finalists.

Each of the schools taking part has a shortlist of six competitors, who were invited along to the launch at Burntwood School, where they had a chance to meet mentors. Seven local schools are taking part in the competition, Ashcroft, Saint Cecelia’s, Southfields, Burntwood, Graveney, Battersea Park and Ernest Bevin.

The students on each school’s shortlist will be holding a ‘cook-off’ in their schools over the next few weeks to decide who will represent the school at the final, due to be held at Burntwood next March.

The mentors will be working with the young people throughout the process to help them get their skills up to the level at which they will be able to cook a celebratory dinner at the Roehampton Club when the competition ends.

All the finalists will be taught key techniques and will have to stick to a budget. They will be expected to think about where their ingredients come from and how healthy the food is. They will be taken on an early-morning trip to Billingsgate fish market and will complete a food hygiene course.

The winner will be offered work experience with the Compass Group, helping to cater for a major event. Compass is responsible for the catering at the Brits, the Oscars, Twickenham Stadium and other major venues and events.

At the launch, Cllr Graham said: “There are so many opportunities opening up for young people in this borough in the hotel, leisure and catering industries. I would like to develop Wandsworth Young Chef to help our students take advantage of them. I greatly appreciate the input of Nick and the Compass Group, because it means the young people are going to get the skills and experiences to aspire to a professional career as a chef.”

Nick Vadis told the students: “This competition is about your future. Enjoy the competition – you will be supported throughout the process and you will be encouraged.”

November 22, 2013