The Midcounties most talented young cooks battled it out in the kitchen at the Create & Cook Competition finals this week (Tues 3rd July) and two Gloucestershire pupils have been named the champions.

The winners, Lottie Oliver (13) and Sophia Torris (12), from The Cotswold School, Bourton-on-the-Water went head-to-head with six other finalists to create a menu from the wealth of locally-produced ingredients in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

They fought off competition from Stroud High School, St Helen and St Katharine School in Abingdon and Icknield Community College in Watlington and wowed judges with their oven-baked Bibury trout stuffed with almonds, artichokes and mint, followed by meringue kisses with chocolate and berries.

The judging panel included award-winning chef Emily Watkins from the Kingham Plough, who has taken part in and judged on the popular television series the Great British Menu and used to work with Heston Blumenthal. She was joined by fit2cook director Min Raisman and The Midcounties Co-operative’s Matt Fletcher.

The Create & Cook Competition is run by fit2cook food education and sponsored by The Midcounties Co-operative Food’s ‘Best of Our Counties’ brand. The finals took place at Foodworks Cookery School in Cheltenham.

Sophia said of winning: “When we found out we had won, it was a complete shock as the other students’ menus were all so good. We put lots of hard work in to our food and it definitely paid off and taking part in this competition was a great experience.”

Matt Fletcher, direct sourcing manager at The Midcounties Co-operative Food, said: “The standard of all the food that the young cooks created was really impressive. Sophia and Lottie did a fantastic job of using locally-produced ingredients to create a delicious, restaurant-standard menu, which included home grown fruit, herbs and vegetables, as well as trout from Bibury in Gloucestershire.

“Supporting young people and local suppliers is incredibly important to us and the Create & Cook competition is a fun way for us to get children into cooking with the amazing ingredients made here in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.”

Min Raisman, director of fit2cook, said: “We were completely blown away by the creativity of all the pupils this year and it was difficult to choose the winners. They have all worked so hard on sourcing their local ingredients and telling us their stories around the food – it was brilliant.”


Please see our recipes page for their winning recipes

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