Conor Boakes, winner of South West Junior Chef of the Year 2018, also won the South West regional final of the Springboard FutureChef competition on 5th February 2019!
In 2018 we established a partnership with Springboard that offered the finalists in the South West Junior Chef of the Year competition the opportunity to compete in the South West regional final of FutureChef, bypassing the earlier stages of the competition.
Five of our six finalists, Conor, Jorgia, Katie, Rhys and Samantha, chose to take up their place in the FutureChef competition and travelled to Petroc College, Tiverton, on 5th February to compete alongside five other young cooks who had qualified through the school heats and the local finals to reach the regional final. The sixth of our finalists, Eva, opted to concentrate on her exams this term.
All ten young cooks, aged 12-16, cooked up a storm in the kitchens preparing some outstanding menus, incorporating a main course and dessert.
After much deliberation, the judges selected 13-year-old Conor as the winner after tasting his menu of pan fried mackerel with beetroot, Pommes Dauphine and tartare with fennel followed by apple soufflé with a blackberry sauce. Conor is a student at Whitstone School, Shepton Mallet.
Conor will now go on to represent the South West at the national final in March. He was mentored by South West Chef of the Year judge and junior chef mentor, Liam Finnegan at the Castle Hotel, Taunton.
The other finalists were (beginning with the four remaining South West Junior Chef finalists):
- Jorgia, Cornwall Junior Chef of the Year from Callington Community College who cooked:
Pan fried chicken breast with herb gnocchi and a mushroom sauce followed by crème brulée with a strawberry compôte, mint foam and a tuile biscuit
- Katie, Dorset Junior Chef of the Year from The Gryphon School who cooked:
Sea Bream en papillote on a bed of shaved fennel and leeks, served with fennel croquettes, Pernod velouté and Cornish Savoy cabbage followed by yoghurt panna cotta with a tuile butterfly and a hone and saffron glaze
- Rhys, Wiltshire Junior Chef of the Year from Wellington Academy who cooked:
Hampshire chicken breast served with a fondant potato and peas à la Franҫaise followed by chocolate tart with raspberry sorbet
- Samantha, Devon Junior Chef of the Year from Stover School who cooked:
Devon pork tenderloin flambéed in 15 year old cask Devon cider brandy, dauphinoise potato layered with a carrot ribbon, poached turned Granny Smith, Vichy heritage carrots, wild garlic oil, greengage purée and cider jus followed by Isle Flottantes
- Joshua from Heathfield Community School, Somerset who cooked:
Thai Green Curry with fragrant rice and fresh Asian cucumber salad followed by rich hot chocolate fondant with berries, crumb and chantilly cream
- Maisey from Winchcombe School, Gloucestershire who cooked:
Chorizo and cod stew served with wholegrain rice and a vegetable garnish followed by Italian style Bakewell tart drizzled with lemon icing
- Sophie from Oasis Academy, Brightstowe who cooked:
Pan seared venison with celeriac purée, buttered baby carrots, roasted beetroot and a red wine and chocolate sauce followed by poached rhubarb, lemon and ginger cheesecake cream with ginger tuiles
- Kirsty from The Park Community School, Devon who cooked:
Pan fired Sea Bass with sesame seed Pak Choi, carrot fondant, carrot ribbons and carrot purée with a crab bisque followed by raspberry crème brulée
- Mali from Humphrey Davey School, Cornwall who cooked:
Honey glazed chilli salmon and sesame seed with lime rice and roasted asparagus followed by passionfruit posset with a shortbread biscuit
Many congratulations to all competitors on reaching this stage of the competition. What an incredible final they produced!
Good luck to Conor at the national final that will be held at Westminster Kingsway College, London, in March!