Amina is Our Young Chef of the Year

Fulham Cross student's two course meal wows judges

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Amina Bendadjal, a student at Fulham Cross Girls’ School is celebrating after being named Hammersmith & Fulham Young Chef of the Year.

Amina, 14, beat four other local students to the title after impressing judges with her menu of baked salmon, Mediterranean rice, sundried tomatoes and yoghurt dressing followed by chocolate fondant and homemade vanilla ice cream.

She, along with four other competitors, was given a budget of £6.50 for the two-course meal and had one hour to prepare and cook it.

Amina says: " It’s still sinking in that I won. My parents have been big influence on my choice of dish. I'm in the first year of GCSE food technology and my school has been very supportive. It's been a good experience and hopefully will lead to lots of opportunities for a future career."

The judges – Ruth Rogers from Hammersmith’s famous River Café, Omar Allibhoy from Tapas Revolution, based in Westfield, and John Reen, Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College’s senior chef lecturer – thought Amina was "cooking above her age" and her meal was "a really advanced effort".

Amina was presented with a £150 in vouchers to spend at Westfield and a glass trophy by H&F Mayor, Cllr Belinda Donovan and cabinet member for residents' services, Cllr Greg Smith.

Cllr Smith says: "All the contestants made some incredible food and it goes to show that a little can go a long way. Amina’s meal really did stand out and it obviously meant a lot to her to win. These young people are talented cooks and should all be very proud of themselves."

The annual event was held at Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College in partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Council, and aims to get young people interested in cooking. The competition also teaches students about the importance of food hygiene and encourages them to create healthy dishes under tight deadlines – an essential skill needed to progress in the catering trade.

The other finalists were Bethlehem (Betty) Solomon from Hurlingham & Chelsea, Gian Richard of Bridge Academy, Alicia Bradshaw from Godolphin & Latymer, and Ryan Gaffney from Wood Lane High School.

Hurlingham and Chelsea School says that not only did Betty come second in the competition, with a menu of chicken scallops with a honey mustard dressing on a bed of braised mangetout, as a main, with a rich chocolate fondant infused with orange, as a dessert, she left the competition early to go back to school and sit her GCSE Mathematics examination paper.

The school adds: " A great accomplishment and a big well done to Betty!"

 

March 22, 2013