Youngsters show they are master chefs

ASPIRING young chefs took up a culinary challenge in a Masterchef style cook-off to prepare a four-course meal.The five students from Orwell High School in Felixstowe put on their chefs' whites and stepped into a professional kitchen to put six-weeks of learning into practice.

ASPIRING young chefs took up a culinary challenge in a Masterchef style cook-off to prepare a four-course meal.

The five students from Orwell High School in Felixstowe put on their chefs' whites and stepped into a professional kitchen to put six-weeks of learning into practice.

Under the watchful eye of Preston Bloom, head chef at The Alex restaurant and chef de partie Matt Whiting, Francesca Rutherford, Alex Stewart, Amy Lake, Cassie Stead and Sarah Cobb have mastered the art of cordon bleu cuisine.

The Alex's Chefs' School culminated with the Year 11 students preparing a four-course meal of their signature dishes for 22 expectant diners and critics made up of teachers and family.

Mr Bloom, who has been working with the 15 and 16-year-olds, said: “I've been really impressed with the standard of their work.

“They've knuckled down to show some real talent in the kitchen.”

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On the menu, designed and created by the junior masterchefs, was a starter of smoked salmon with potato salad and watercress followed by sizzling beef stir fry or cod wrapped in bacon with a pea and mint risotto.

And for a sweet end to the gastronomic feast, diners were treated to a naughty but nice chocolate fondant with clotted cream.

Alex spokeswoman Stacy Bain said: “The inspiration for the school was Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, when the chef trained 15 disadvantaged young people to work in the hospitality industry.

“We got to thinking how good it would be to work with youngsters locally.”

Derek Woodward, Orwell High School's head of design and technology, said: “We invited all Year 11 to take part and these are the five students that took up the challenge.

“I've seen their work and it's very impressive.”

Alex Stewart said: “The experience at The Alex is one I'll never forget. I was able to develop my understanding of cooking to a level which means I can really appreciate culinary skills.”

His view was echoed by his fellow students.

Cassie Stead said: “It was such a good opportunity to work closely with professional people.”

Sarah Cobb said the experience of working in a professional kitchen had inspired her to consider cooking as a career, and the experience was summed up by Francesca Rhutherford who said: "It was great fun, and something really different. Working together with people as a team was great."

Is your son or daughter an aspiring masterchef? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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