Edible Enterprise for Dorset students

Promising chefs at 7 local schools are turning up the burners for a major competition launched last month.

Facilitated by the Enterprise & skills Company, The Harvest Fine Foods ‘Yes Chef’ competition is a four-stage event aimed at finding the most promising culinary talent in the county. Harvest, headed up in the competition by Phil Clark, are principle sponsors for a second consecutive year. They passionately believe in supporting the local community and inspiring our next generation to get involved in the Hospitality industry as a whole.

Schools are currently putting together teams to enter the first stage. Students are tasked with creating a savoury dish from a shopping bag of ingredients costing no more than £2.50. As if that wasn’t enough, they will also be scrutinised with a mystery ingredients ‘sight test’. Heats will be prepared in school for a panel of judges including Phil Clark from Harvest Fine Foods and Gary Kilminster from Bournemouth & Poole College.

After visiting each school, judges will select their top 24 students to enter the Quarter-final, hosted by Ryan Hopper, Executive Chef at Canford School. Here they will be asked to prepare a set meal following a list of ingredients and recipe provided.

Whittled down to 12 students; battle commences in the Semi-finals at Bournemouth & Poole College. The difficulty level will rise once again with a 2 course menu involving both individual creativity and a technical challenge.

The grand final will then be contested between 4 surviving competitors. They will cook for 40 guests at Bournemouth’s Carlton Hotel under the watchful eye of Richard Allsopp (Head Chef) in March. The overall winner will then be announced.

Finalist’s prizes include a guest spot at The Bournemouth Food Festival courtesy of Patrick Marmion and a ‘Restaurant experience’ prepping in a ‘live’ kitchen environment for paying customers.

The aim is to encourage young people into Hospitality, making industry contacts and find those gems of culinary potential out there. Having to cook for professional chefs and indeed cooking in industry kitchens has helped with confidence and work-related learning. Last year’s winner was Lytchett Minster student Sean-Paul Phippard. He is now enrolled on the Specialised Chef Scholarship course at B&P College. Sean-Paul’s Seared Chicken with Fresh Tagliatelle in a Cream and Chilli Sauce followed by a Panna Cotta proved to be the dish that impressed all 6 judges and a crowd pleaser with dining guests.

Schools involved are The Thomas Hardye School, Lytchett Minster, Ferndown Upper, Harewood College, Bournemouth Collegiate, The Bishop of Winchester Academy and Winton Arts & Media College.