Aspiring chefs impress at Busy Bees Training’s cookery challenge

A group of aspiring young chefs from schools in Birmingham cooked up a storm in the kitchen at Harborne Food School in the final of the Busy Bees Training ‘Greens to Gourmet.’

The four secondary school students from across Birmingham were invited to don their chef whites and put their culinary skills to the test for the Busy Bees Training ‘Greens to Gourmet’ Cookery Challenge on Thursday 19th NovemberEarlier in the year, Food Technology students were asked to prepare a delicious meal from one of two mystery bags, filled with healthy, seasonal ingredients. 

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The best dishes went on to the finals, where an expert panel had the tough task of deciding the overall winner. Award winning Chef Director Luke Tipping kindly took time out of the kitchen at one of Birmingham’s most respected Michelin starred restaurants, Simpsons, to form part of the judging team and offer his expert advice to the young chefs.

Colin Diamond, Interim Executive Director of Education at Birmingham Council and Jane Bagnall, Quality Assurance Office at Busy Bees Training joined Luke in judging the four final-worthy dishes. 

Talking about his involvement, Luke Tipping said: “It has been well documented that our industry needs more chefs and I’m proud to be involved in initiatives that encourage young people to pursue a career in catering, as well as develop skills that will help them lead a healthier lifestyle.

“I myself have two children, and from a very young age they were involved in cooking and it’s now second nature to them. As parents, I think it is our responsibility to work with schools to ensure all young adults develop competency in the kitchen and understand how to cook a meal using fresh ingredients. 
“Simpsons has been a training ground for many great local chefs and we are committed to nurturing the skills of young people. It’s great to speak to the children here today and see the passion and focus they have for cooking.”

Tre Whitelock’s from Wheelers Lane Technology College, chocolate and orange tart took top price and he received a £25 Amazon voucher as well as an all-expenses paid meal for four at Simpsons restaurant. 

He said: “For me, cooking is really interesting and I really enjoy creating my own dishes. I decided to create a chocolate orange tart because I would like to become a pastry chef, so it was a great way to show off my pastry skills. 
“The competition was an opportunity for me to meet others who love cooking, and it was great to spend a day out of the classroom and do something I really enjoy. Everyone was really nice and helpful, especially Luke who offered advice to us all and brought the equipment we needed to the tables. 

“I couldn’t believe it when I won, I really wasn’t expecting it. I’m going to take my family with me for a meal at Simpsons, they’re going to be so pleased. I can’t wait to tell them!”

The competition’s aim was to inspire young people to pursue their passion for food and cookery, while offering them the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom and enjoy a fun and educational experience. 

Birmingham’s Interim Executive Director of Education, Colin Diamond, explained why initiatives like this were so important, he said: “I’m delighted to be involved in any activity that aims to inspire and offer young people important experiences and life skills. I’ve been amazed at the level of creativity each of the pupils have shown, and it was very difficult to choose just one winner. 

“To see how engaged the young people were and how much effort was put into their dishes was wonderful. I hope to see more and more school’s entering the competition, and I’m looking forward to seeing what talent aspires next year.”

Photo caption: (L-R) D’Wayne Campbell George Cartwright Daniel Emery Tre Whitelock Luke Tipping.

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