Young chefs turn up the heat as Havering College competition returns

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Four talented teenage chefs have battled it out in a MasterChef style cook-off marking the return of a sizzlingly hot competition at Havering College of Further and Higher Education.

Havering College Young Chef 2013 judges Glenn Norman and Paul Gayler

Havering College Young Chef 2013 judges Glenn Norman and Paul Gayler

All the dishes would not have been out of place in our restaurants.

Havering College of Further and Higher Education ( held the finals of the 2013 Havering and Brentwood Schools Young Chef Competition to talent spot the Jamie Olivers and Nigella Lawsons of tomorrow.

The popular event – aimed at pupils in Years 9-11 across both boroughs – culminated in an exciting “televised” final held on April 25th in the Hospitality and Catering training facility at the Havering College Quarles Campus in Harold Hill.

The judges – who included the highly respected international chef Paul Gayler, from the Lanesborough Hotel in Hyde Park – heaped praise on Edward Brookes, Melanie Sedge, Sarah Stephens and Natasha Thomas as they produced dishes fit for a top restaurant.

Romford resident Edward, 16, a pupil at Royal Liberty School, Romford, West Horndon resident Melanie, 14, who attends Brentwood County High School, Brentwood resident Sarah, a pupil at Coopers’ Company and Coborn School in Upminster and Rainham resident Natasha, who attends Gaynes School in Hornchurch, faced an against the clock challenge to prepare a main course and dessert.

Supporters, who included the pupils’ Food Technology teachers and families, watched the action live thanks to a live video link filmed by two of the college’s Media students.

All involved later enjoyed a three course dinner prepared and served by the college’s Hospitality and Catering students in the on-site Jubilee Restaurant.

Lead judge Paul Gayler and supporting judge Glenn Norman – head chef at the Brentwood restaurant Masons – had their taste buds tantalised by such delights Sea Bass with Asparagus, Teriyaki and Ginger Salmon and Rhubarb Baked with a Ginger Syllabub.

But after a MasterChef-style deliberation, it was Natasha’s technically challenging Lamb-in-Jus followed by a Chocolate Fondant which netted her the top prize.

Natasha said: “It was nerve wracking. I had practised at home but decided to change my presentation at the last minute.”

Her teacher Louise Carvana – Head of Design and Technology at Gaynes School – said: “We are very proud of Natasha – she has worked so hard.”

Paul Gayler said: “The cooking today was outstanding. All the dishes would not have been out of place in our restaurants.”

Secondary school teachers who would further information on how to get involved in next year’s Young Chef competition should email Havering College curriculum manager for hospitality and catering, Mark Smithers at

For information on Hospitality and Catering Courses at Havering College call Threshold Services on 01708 462801, email information(at)havering-college(dot)ac(dot)uk or visit the website at

The Jubilee Restaurant is open to the public. For table reservations, call the Restaurant Manager on 01708 462886.

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Kathy Canham
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