The competition journey

The Create & Cook Competition ties in with the KS3 curriculum and is a fun way to explore "the source, seasonality and characteristics of ingredients". It's also a great opportunity to learn about local food, to cook competitively, to develop teamwork, to meet local chefs for future contacts and to win prizes! Many schools run the competition as part of their scheme of work.

Young cooks are asked to include some kind of salad element into their menus. By a salad we mean a plant based dish/side with a dressing. This can be a starter, a main or accompaniment to the main or a desert - be creative as you can! As many more move to a plant based diet, we are eating more food on the go and with street food becoming increasingly popular, we want to encourage young cooks to be creative and design a more informal element to their menus. For ideas and inspiration see our sponsor's website.

We have devised 4 simple steps for young cooks to work through for the competition. Once they have completed these steps they will be ready to fill in the entry form. The entry form is designed to be saved and worked on as a PDF. Once finished the entry form can be uploaded and sent to us via the website.

The Create & Cook Competition is open to everyone in years 8 and 9, aged 12-14, who work in pairs. The closing date for entry to the 2020 competition is Friday 3rd April 2020. Each school is allowed to send in their best 3 entries. We encourage you to have your own cook offs in schools. . There will be one final in June with top local chefs as judges. All finalists win a goody bag and their competition apron. The winners have their recipes professionally styled and photographed and the winning school wins a cash prize to buy equipment for their food department.

Email us to register your school for the 2020 competition here

Download Entry form Upload your completed entry forms

Step 1

Find Local Ingredients

This competition is all about using local ingredients. By local we mean ingredients produced/grown or reared in Sussex. Young cooks should start with finding their local ingredients, doing their research. Once they have chosen their local ingredients they can go on to design their menus. Starting with ingredients not recipes creates a stronger entry.

Learning about where our food comes from, how it is produced as well as seasonality and sustainability are key learning outcomes of this project. We also challenge young cooks to think about food miles. We are looking for ingredients that are available in May and June as this is when our finals are. Have fun discovering food on your doorstep!


South Downs Food

Step 1 Tips for Teachers (click to view)

Step 2

Step 2

Create your menu

Time to create your menu. We are looking for creative summer menus that show a flair for cooking, an understanding of seasonality and a good use of local produce.

Design brief. Young cooks should design:

  1. Two course menu using at least 2 local ingredients and more if you can
  2. The menu must have a summer theme as the finals are in the summer. Try and use ingredients that are in season in May & June
  3. A salad element to your menu - a plant based dish or side with a dressing.
  4. There is 90 minutes to cook your 2 dishes and you should cook 2 portions of each dish.
  5. The budget of £25 for ingredients. If you get through to the final we give you money for ingredients.

Have fun being creative......

    Step 2 Tips for Teachers (click to view)

    Step 3

    Step 3

    Cook your recipes

    Once the menus have been designed, have fun cooking the recipes. Check the recipes work and make amendments. You can see if there is time to add some little extras. Remember they need to cook 2 portions of each dish.

    Most schools have a cook off in school to decide which 3 entries to put forward. This is a good chance to get the management team involved in what you are doing! Everyone loves judging and tasting.

      Step 3 Tips for Teachers (click to view)

      Step 4

      Step 4

      Tell us your story

      The judges want to know the stories behind the menus. Is there a personal connection to one of the local ingredients? Are they tried and tested family recipes? We also want to know a bit more about the young cooks love of cooking and who inspired them - questions in the entry form. This always produces fun answers!

      Please check the spelling and grammar on the entry forms before uploading. If you have photos please send these via email as the files maybe too big to upload via the website.

        Step 4 Tips for Teachers (click to view)

        Step 5

        Be Inspired

        Here are recipes from past finalists that have a summer theme and use lots of local ingredients. They were created and cooked by young cooks aged 13- 14.

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