Winner of schools cooking competition crowned at UHI Inverness

The final of an annual cooking competition for local secondary school children reached its conclusion at UHI Inverness when Rosie Conroy from Charleston Academy was crowned the champion.

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Schools Master Chef Competition winner Rosie Conroy from Charleston Academy.

Impressive culinary skills were on show at the final cook-off of the Schools Master Chef Competition in front of an audience of sixty people. It was judged by renowned food writer Lady Claire Macdonald and Michael Smith from Loch Bay Restaurant in Skye.

The Rotary Club of Inverness Culloden co-ordinated the competition which involved heats, a semi-final and a day working in local restaurants. This valuable work experience also formed part of the final judging process.

The five local schools that took part this year were Charleston Academy, Fortrose Academy, Inverness High School, Inverness Royal Academy and Nairn Academy. Past winners have gone on to represent the area at regional level.

The finalists were Rosie Conroy, Charleston Academy; Fraser Ross, Fortrose Academy; Alicja Wojcieszczuk, Inverness High School; Ava Inglis, Inverness Royal Academy.

Sponsored by Williamson Foodservice in Inverness, the final saw the four junior chefs cook a two-course meal with a budget of up to £15.

MD of Williamson Foodservice. Gary Williamson, said: “We are delighted to be involved again in this competition as it gives young people a real enthusiasm for cooking as well as insight into the hospitality sector that we hope they may develop further interest in. We are indebted to local chefs and restaurants who actively participate in the early judging. Without them we could not run the competition as professionally as we do.”

Duncan MacDonald from the Rotary Club of Inverness Culloden said: “It is great to see schools embrace this year's competition again and I’d like to express my gratitude to the teachers who co-ordinate the competition and the time they devote to making this a valuable learning experience for all of those taking part.

“A big thank you to UHI Inverness too as their professional cooking and presentation facilities provide a brilliant final venue for the young chefs themselves and those who support them.”

Professor Chris O’Neil, Principal and Chief Executive of UHI Inverness, said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to Rosie and all the participants, and I look forward to seeing more from these great young chefs in the future. It is a pleasure to host an event that sees talented students from schools across our area come together to showcase their skills and passion for cookery.

“It is important to support and encourage young talent and this is a great platform for high school pupils to gain hands-on experience and explore their interest in cooking. We are pleased to continue to support this annual competition which plays an important role in nurturing and shaping the future of the hospitality industry.”

Saurav Kumar, a Professional Cookery lecturer at UHI Inverness, supported the event by judging the preliminary and semi-final rounds.