Young chefs crowned after cook off final at Square Food

A final cook off took place at Knowle West’s Square Food Foundation in June to crown Bristol’s Young Cook and Young Apprentice of the Year.

The Young Cook award went to Luca Markey Cruz, a student from Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, who beat six others to the top spot.

Stephanie Williams from Fairfield High School won the Young Apprentice award and has been offered a place on the new School of Food apprenticeship programme.

The competition took place as part of the Teaching a City to Cook programme, a pilot launched by Bristol City Council earlier this year to get more children and families cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients and eating healthily.

The programme, which included a digital toolkit with recipe ideas was developed with the help of local professional chefs including Barny Haughton (Square Food Foundation), Josh Eggleton (Pony and Trap) and Adrian Kirikmaa (St Monica’s Trust)

Luca said: “… I have really enjoyed taking part in the competition and will be encouraging my friends to get involved next year. I am going to keep trying new dishes at home.”

As Young Apprentice, Stephanie has been invited to attend the School of Food which was established by Josh Eggleton and Adrian Kirikmaa in partnership with St Monica Trust, Weston College, St Katherine’s School and Ashton Gate Stadium as a direct response to industry feedback.

She said “I am still thinking about what I want to do but am thrilled that I won the competition and been invited to go to the School of Food.”

Speaking on behalf of the judges, Barny Haughton said: “All the finalists put in a great performance and we were impressed by their focus, skills and flair in their cooking, but our winners just had the edge.

“I hope that the Teaching a City to Cook programme has helped to inspire those who took part and they become ambassadors for the programme by sharing their experiences with friends and family.”

Teaching a City to Cook links to the Sugar Smart Bristol campaign, which launched last year to tackle the high levels of obesity and tooth decay in the city.

To find out more about the programme and download lesson plans and digital toolkit visit www.bristol.gov.uk/youngcooks.

Top tips for other aspiring young chefs from this year’s winners;

  1. Set aside time to cook – maybe one evening a week or on the weekend, find some time where you can enjoy cooking and not feel rushed
  2. Find the right recipe – work out what type of thing you enjoy cooking and give it a try
  3. Find the flavour – you don’t have to buy expensive ingredients to create fantastic meals. It’s about working out what works well together and not being afraid to experiment
  4. Don’t be afraid to fail – if you try something and it doesn’t work out, don’t let that put you off
  5. Feel good factor – food can really bring people together and the best part is often sharing it with friends and family
  6. Music to cook to – cooking can help you relax, and it’s even more fun when you put on your favourite tunes
  7. Practice makes perfect – but don’t forget to try new things