On Saturday 27th April, seven young enthusiasts aged from 13 to 17 fought for first place in the National Final of Rotary Young Chef 2019.
15-year-old Sasha Martin stole the show, taking away first place and ‘Dish of the Day’ awards.
Sasha, who had a three-hour journey before arriving at the host venue, Leeds City College, blew judges away with the detail in her dishes.
The seven finalists came from the length and breadth of the UK and were supported by Rotary members, family and teachers with over 50 people in total.
Sasha said: “I am so happy I was able to get the opportunity to compete in the Rotary Young Chef competition.”
“I loved being a part of the competition so much, so I would like to thank my sponsoring club [Grays Thurrock] for supporting me on the way.”
“I am super excited to experience the prize awarded by Filippo Berio! Without the competition I know I wouldn’t have been given this chance to do this.”
“If you have a passion for cooking like me, please reach out to your local Rotary – who I’m sure will support you and give you the opportunity to show off your talent!”
The competition brought together nearly 3,000 budding chefs across Great Britain and Ireland, all in hope of claiming the winning title and experiencing a two-day trip to a cookery school in Tuscany, with thanks to competition sponsor, Filippo Berio.
Filippo Berio has been creating the finest oils since 1867 and is the UK’s most popular olive oil brand. The company is passionately committed to the very best of Italy’s culinary heritage and the highly skilled art of olive oil blending.
Their passion for olive oil is shared by cooks all across the world who rely on its superb quality to bring out the very best in their cooking.
Sasha was also awarded a chocolate course from the competition venue, Leeds City College.
If you have a passion for cooking like me, please reach out to your local Rotary – who I’m sure will support you and give you the opportunity to show off your talent!”
Heats began back in Autumn last year, and will kick-off again this year around September.
For more information, potential entrants must contact the local Rotary club, who may be hosting the first stage or can direct where the nearest heats are.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Graham Latty, said: “The quality of the entries and the enthusiasm of the entrants was truly outstanding and I complement Rotary on sponsoring such a worthwhile competition.”
Gill Poole, Mirfield Rotary, organised the final on behalf of District 1040 and awarded all finalists chef whites, oven gloves, timers and certificates.
Sasha Martin, Grays Thurrock Rotary, is aged just 15. Her menu wowed judges enough for first place and the Dish of the Day award!
Starter – Yuzu, wasabi and sesame tuna “sashimi” niçoise – new potatoes, tomato, quail egg, French beans, olives, capers, black olive tapenade, vinaigrette, basil oil, salad leaves
Main – Pan-roasted pork tenderloin, fondant potatoes, carrot puree, apple braised red cabbage, apple crisps, baby courgettes, apple cider jus, chorizo soil, garlic flowers
Dessert – Homemade honeycomb ice-cream baked Alaska, fresh honeycomb, bee pollen, popping candy, white chocolate snap
Second place was Florence Pattenden, sponsored by Fleet Rotary. Aged 13, Florence started with: Smoked salmon scotch egg, went on to Chicken breast wrapped in pancetta, served with Pommes Anna, chantenay carrots and romanesco cauliflower for the main and to finish panna cotta with pineapple, served with lace cookies.
Amy Ashton, sponsored by Glasgow Rotary, whisked up a delicious three-course meal and came third. Her menu was: Asparagus soup with a pancetta crisp, served with homemade oatcakes, Chicken and prosciutto stuffed with pesto served with a rosti potato and red pepper sauce and for sweet, chocolate fondants served with a raspberry gel.
Now in its 19th year, the competition is operating in full force. Rotary Young Chef gives young individuals across Great Britain and Ireland a chance to showcase their skills in the kitchen and is amongst many different youth opportunities offered.