Talented teens Martha O'Neil and Lara Davies cooked up a storm in the West Wales Food Festival
at the National Botanic Gardens.
The Maes Yr Yrfa school pupils wowed the judges in the final round of the Junior and Teen Chef competition which was run as part of Carmarthenshire County Council’‘love food hate waste'
campaign in conjunction with The Pumpkin Patch Cookery and Gardening School.
The competition was open to all secondary school pupils in the county to create a two-course meal costing no more than £10 for two people. The meal either had to be healthy or made from leftovers and they had just one hour to produce it.
In the early rounds, the competition entries were judged on paper for their creativeness, ability to follow the brief and potential of the dish; with subsequent rounds judged at individual schools.
The final was held in the main chefs marquee at the food festival and judged by top chefs Dudley Newbery and Angela Gray and Lisa Fearn from The Pumpkin Patch.
Martha, aged 14, made a beef burger with sweet potato wedges and homemade tomato sauce and for dessert a rhubarb compote, Greek yogurt and crumble crunch topping.
Lara, also 14, made her own pasta with spinach, ricotta and parmesan, and a mushroom and tomato sauce; with rhubarb and orange crumble served with crème fraiche for dessert.
It was a very close call, but Martha was eventually crowned the winner.
Lisa said: “Both girls have worked very, very hard for this competition. Both showed enormous skill and creativity and they did really well on the day. Cooking in front of an audience is never easy but they succeeded and even managed to chat and talk about their cooking experiences during the competition. Well done girls.”
Carmarthenshire County Council is encouraging residents to reduce the amount of food they throw away and save money at the same time.
It is estimated that £12 billion worth of perfectly good food and drink is thrown away in the UK every year and not only is it bad for the environment, but it is bad for the pocket too.
The ‘Love Food Hate Waste’
campaign provides simple practical advice to reduce food waste from portion sizes to recipes for leftovers.
Council sustainability officer Tina Brice said: “I was very impressed by the high standard of entries in the competition. Both Martha and Lara were deserving finalists and I know it was a very tough decision for the judges. Congratulations to them both.”