Junior Class 2018


Are you a keen cook aged 11-16?

The Junior category enables young cooks to develop their skills with an unrivalled opportunity to learn from some of the region’s best chefs.

The Junior category is sponsored by Michael Caines MBE and Lympstone Manor

County winners will benefit from valuable mentoring from one of our judges in each county, in preparation for the final.

Send us your recipe for any main course dish using principally ingredients from the South West of England.  Our judges will select the cooks they would like to invite to each county final to be held during June/July (see below for details) and the winners of the six county competitions will meet at the South West final on Saturday 6th October at Ashburton Cookery School, Devon.

PLEASE NOTE: Entries for all other categories of the competition will open at a later date.

We are delighted to be able to offer an invaluable opportunity for each of our county winners to receive mentoring from one of our county judges in advance of the final.  The advice and expertise that our judges will be able to share with the county winners will help them to learn new skills, develop existing ones and, of course, to prepare for the final!  The will also gain valuable experience of a working kitchen.

The Junior class is open to 11-16 year olds who will still be at school (in year 11 or below) at the time of the final in October.  Entrants are asked to submit their recipe (including full method) for a main course dish to serve two people, and those selected will be given one and a half hours to prepare and plate up their dish.

At the final, competitors will prepare their same main course dish, for two people, again, but this time with the benefit of any enhancements they may have worked on with their mentors.  The principal ingredients used in the dish must be the same as those used in the county finals.

Among other prizes, the overall South West winner will enjoy work experience with two Michelin-starred chef, David Everitt-Matthias in the kitchen of Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham – an outstanding opportunity and the envy of many professional chefs!

If you would like some inspiration for your entry, click here to take a look at the report and pictures from the 2017 final!

Entries for the 2018 Junior Chef category are now closed

(For junior class only – entries for all other categories open at a later date)


Thank you very much to joint sponsors of South West Junior Chef of the Year:

Michael Caines logoLympstone Manor



Last year’s final saw a diverse range of wonderful dishes prepared by our six finalists (pictured).

Left to right:

Vikki Pearcey, Lavington School, Market Lavington, Wiltshire

Munopa Nhete, Queen’s College, Taunton, Somerset

Emily Henson, Bournemouth School for Girls, Dorset

Anna West, Penair School, Truro, Cornwall

Amber Clay, Alderman Knight School, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

Samantha Taylor-Clarke, Stover School, Newton Abbot, Devon

Following a final of an exceptional standard, the judges finally decided that they were unable to select just one winner and awarded the title of South West Junior Chef of the Year 2017 jointly to Amber Clay from Alderman Knight School, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire and Anna West from Penair School, Truro, Cornwall, both pictured here with some of our judges.

Our judges will select entrants to invite to the county finals based on:

  • the creativity of the recipe – they are always interested in why you have chosen a particular recipe.
  • the balance of the ingredients used in the recipe
  • the skills required to create the dish
  • the use of ingredients from the South West region (from any of the six counties making up the South West: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire)

Important Notes

  • Information about this competition is sent to schools across the South West. You may choose to speak to your teacher about entering or enter directly yourself.
  • Entrants must be aged 11-16 years and still attending school in year 11 or below on the date of the final, 6th October 2018.
  • Competitors must only include elements in their dishes that can be prepared from scratch during the allotted competition time.  With the exception of home-made stocks, no pre-prepared elements will be permitted and if present, will be confiscated or discounted from the judging process.
  • Recipes should be based principally (but not necessarily entirely) upon ingredients that are grown or produced in the South West of England, where possible.
  • Competitors will be asked to bring their own ingredients and equipment to the cook-offs to ensure that they have everything they need.

Melissa at final

“I would really recommend the Junior South West Chef of the Year to anyone who is passionate about cooking. You get to meet amazing chefs and learn so much about the industry. Getting through to be mentored by Matt Durrant, Chef  Lecturer  at Exeter College taught me a lot about the possibilities that can be created from a few simple and local ingredients. My advice would be to have a go, and if you’re lucky enough to win, then take up the opportunities of work experience and demonstrations because they are brilliant.”

Melissa Johnson, South West Junior Chef of the Year 2014


Dates, venues and judges

We are extremely privileged to be joined by a fantastic line-up of top chefs who will be judging the county finals, as outlined below.  We are also very grateful to the following colleges who will be hosting each final as follows:

Click here for further information about each of our judges


Cornwall College

Cornwall College, Camborne

Thursday 5th July  (afternoon)



Stephane Delourme – Head Chef, The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow

Emily Scott – Chef Proprietor, St Tudy Inn, St Tudy

Clyde Conellan – Chef Lecturer, Cornwall College

Mentor judge: Stephane Delourme



Exeter College

Exeter College

Friday 6th July (afternoon)



Mark Dodson – Chef Proprietor, The Masons Arms, Knowstone

Scott Paton – Head Chef, Boringdon Hall, Plymouth

John Wheeler – Head of Hospitality, Exeter College

Mentor judge: Mark Dodson



Bournemouth & Poole College

Bournemouth and Poole College

Friday 29th June  (afternoon)



Russell Brown – Director, Creative About Cuisine

Gary Kilminster – Business Development Manager, Essential Cuisine

David Marshall – Chef Lecturer, Bournemouth & Poole College

Mentor judge: TBC



Glos College

Gloucestershire College, Cheltenham

Tuesday 3rd July  (afternoon)



David Everitt-Matthias – Chef Proprietor, Le Champignon Sauvage

Gus Ashenford – Chef Proprietor, Restaurant 5 North Street, Winchcombe

Renark Cousins – Chef Lecturer, Gloucestershire College

Mentor judge: David Everitt-Matthias



Bridgwater & Taunton College

Bridgwater and Taunton College, Taunton

Wednesday 27th June  (afternoon)



Liam Finnegan – Head Chef, The Castle Hotel, Taunton

Elly Wentworth – Sous Chef, Lucknam Park, Bath

Dean Perry/Jason Morrison – Chef Lecturer, Bridgwater and Taunton College

Mentor judge: Liam Finnegan



Wiltshire College

Wiltshire College Trowbridge

Monday 25th June (afternoon)



Hywel Jones – Executive Chef, Lucknam Park, Bath

Chris Cleghorn – Head Chef, The Olive Tree, Queensberry Hotel, Bath

Stephen Lloyd, Chef Lecturer, Wiltshire College

Mentor judge: Hywel Jones

Each semi-final will take place during late afternoon.  Click here for further information about each of our judges

South West Junior Chef of the Year 2016, Ethan Macdonald, demonstrating his skills with Michael Caines in the Cookery Theatre at the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink 2017


The final will be held on Saturday 6th October 2018 at Ashburton Cookery School, Ashburton, Devon and will be judged by a selection of chefs that make up our finals judging panel, click here for the full list of judges


Entry is via an online entry form and entrants must attach a copy of their recipe (including the full method) for their chosen dish.  Click here to go to the entry form.

Entries for the 2018 Junior Chef category are now closed

(For junior class only -entries for all other categories close at a later date)



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