Quest to find the county’s best young chef launches in Chipping Norton

L-R: Matt Fletcher, The Midcounties Co-operative; Emma Crocker, Sibford School; Jemma Hitchcox, Gosford Hill School; Min Raisman, fit2cook; Simon James, The Warriner School
L-R: Matt Fletcher, The Midcounties Co-operative; Emma Crocker, Sibford School; Jemma Hitchcox, Gosford Hill School; Min Raisman, fit2cook; Simon James, The Warriner School

The search for Oxfordshire’s best young cooks is on, with the launch of the 2019 Create and Cook Competition.

The competition, run by food education organisation fit2cook in partnership with The Midcounties Co-operative Food’s ‘Best of Our Counties’ brand, was launched on November 7 at the Kingham Plough near Chipping Norton.

L-R: Matt Fletcher, The Midcounties Co-operative; Emma Crocker, Sibford School; Emily Watkins, chef and owner of Kingham Plough; Min Raisman, fit2cook

L-R: Matt Fletcher, The Midcounties Co-operative; Emma Crocker, Sibford School; Emily Watkins, chef and owner of Kingham Plough; Min Raisman, fit2cook

Teachers from secondary schools across the county were in attendance including representatives from the Warriner and Sibford schools.

During the launch, teachers were treated to a food demonstration from the Kingham’s Plough’s owner and head chef Emily Watkins. Emily sources the best local ingredients for the kitchen and embodies the Create and Cook competition ethos.

The Create and Cook Competition will see pupils aged between 12 and 14 years, Years 8 and 9, working pairs to create a two course menu from the wealth of locally-produced ingredients Oxfordshire has to offer.

Young cooks will be challenged to hunt out ingredients from farmers’ markets, farm shops and local allotments to create their menus.

Min Raisman, director of fit2cook, said: “The Create and Cook initiative is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate local food and for budding young chefs in the region to showcase their skills in the kitchen.”

The competition can also be incorporated as a learning tool with teacher resources available from the competition website.

The closing date for entries is Friday, March 29 next year and the winning menus will be announced in the spring of 2019 at Brooks Restaurant Cookery School in Oxford, which is supporting the competition.

Other supporters of the competition are The Midcounties Co-operative Food, Thames Valley Farmers Markets and Good Food Oxford.

Matt Fletcher, direct sourcing manager at The Midcounties Co-operative Food, said: “Last year’s Create and Cook competition was a huge success and really showcased young, talented Oxfordshire chefs.

“We’re pleased to be supporting again this year and are looking forward to seeing what our contestants cook up.”

For more information about the competition and how to take part visit the Create and Cook website.