Young chef’s stir it up at Rotary competition

Aspiring young chef’s from throughout the region whipped up a storm, competing for a place in the Senlac Rotary Club’s Young Chef 2017 competition.

The winner of this year’s local round of the Rotary Young Chef Competition, was Zachary Allen, aged 14,

Zachary was one of three competitors, all from St Leonards Academy, who entered the competition, held at the South Coast College, Hastings on November 8.

Zachary’s menu of pan fried duck breast with lemon and orange jelly, salmon on a bed of mashed vegetables with roasted tomatoes and chocolate spheres filled with a cream cheesecake mixture wowed the judges.

Bella Rees King and Alyssa Whiteman, both aged 12, were first and second runners up.

Those having the difficult task of judging the competition were local restauranteur Paul Webbe and Senlac Rotarian Dave Miles. Paul said the competition, which was sponsored through the Senlac Rotary’s trust fund, showed some exceptional local talent, adding: “They all cooked extremely well, a really good effort particularly considering their ages.

“I was impressed with Zach’s pan fried duck, the best dish of the competition, and I’d like to invite him to one of my restaurants for a session before the next round.”

It was the second year that Zachary has entered the competition. His prize is a coaching session at one of Paul Webbe’s restaurants. Zachary said he was thrilled and delighted to have won after being runner-up last year and is grateful to Paul for giving him the opportunity to have coaching at his restaurant.

The next round of the competition, the Rotary District final, takes place in Maidstone on January 27, 2018.

Christine Folley, organiser for Senlac Rotary says they hope more school’s and aspiring young chefs will rise to the challenge next year. “It is a great competition giving local youngsters a wonderful chance to demonstrate their cooking skills and cook in commercial kitchens,” she said.

“It is a shame that more schools and children didn’t take advantage of this huge opportunity.”

For more information or to find out more about Rotary contact the Senlac Rotary Secretary, Mike Styles, on 01424 843955 or visit the web-site