Junior Chef

Sponsored by Michael Caines MBE and Lympstone Manor

Entry Criteria: Aged 11-16 and still at school in year 11 or below at the time of the final in October.

Brief for entry stage of competition

Main course dish 

To serve two

Time allowed:
90 minutes

To include seasonal and locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.

No pre-prepared elements permitted, with the exception of homemade stocks


Please send us the recipe (including method) for your main course dish.  You may also send photographs of your dish if you wish but this is optional.

Notes and the rules of the competition

Selected entrants will be invited to compete at a competition in their own county in July initially and the winners in each of the six counties will meet at the South West final in October.

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! They will also gain valuable experience of a working kitchen.

Information about this competition is sent to schools across the South West. You may choose to speak to your teachers about entering or enter directly yourself.

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)

Through our partnership with Springboard FutureChef, we are delighted to be able to offer our six South West finalists the opportunity to go through to the FutureChef regional final in February, bypassing the local rounds of the competition, to compete for a place in the FutureChef national final.

Junior Category 2019 entries now closed

The county finals

Judges will select a number of entrants to attend a final in each county initially. Further details of each county final can be found below.

At the county finals, competitors will be asked to prepare their proposed main course dish for the judges in one and a half hours.  The judges will then select one finalist in each county who will be invited to return for the South West final on Saturday 5th October.

The South West final

Those selected for the South West final will be offered the opportunity to receive mentoring from one of our county judges to help them to develop their skills and confidence, as well as to enhance their dish for the final.

The South West finalists will be invited to attend the final on Saturday 5th October at Ashburton Cookery School, where they will be asked to 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. Finalists will be given 90 minutes to prepare and present their dish for our finals’ judging panel.

The results will be announced immediately following the final and the winner will be invited to our awards presentation dinner on the evening of Tuesday 22nd October to receive their award.


Among other prizes, the overall winner of South West Junior Chef of the Year will be offered the much sought-after opportunity of work experience with Michelin-starred chef, David Everitt-Matthias, at his highly respected restaurant Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham.

Rules of the competition

  • Entrants must be living or studying in the six counties of the South West: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire or Gloucestershire
  • 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.
  • Entries must include the full recipe (including the method) for your chosen main course dish. Photographs of your dish may also be included with your entry but this is optional.
  • Competitors are asked to bring all ingredients with them.
  • Competitors are advised to bring all of their own equipment and presentation dishes to the competition to ensure that all required equipment is available.
  • Competitors must be within the stipulated age bracket on the day of the final of the category that they wish to enter.  Proof of age may be requested at the final.
  • Only the names of those selected for the county and South West finals will be publicised.  We do not make public the names of any entrants not selected for the finals.
  • Entries must be received by no later than midnight on Thursday 23rd May 2019.  There will be no extension to this closing date.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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, Camborne

Friday 5th July 2.00pm

Stephane Delourme – Head Chef, The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow
Emily Scott – Chef Proprietor, St Tudy Inn, St Tudy
Tracy Page – Chef Lecturer, Cornwall College

Mentor judge:
Emily Scott


Exeter College

Thursday 4th July 3.00pm

Mark Dodson – Chef Proprietor, The Masons Arms, Knowstone
Scott Paton – Head Chef, Boringdon Hall, Plymouth
Mark Stoyle – Head of Hospitality, Exeter College

Mentor judge:
Mark Dodson


Bournemouth and Poole College

Monday 8th July 2.00pm

Russell Brown – Director, Creative About Cuisine
Pete Murt – Head Chef at Rick Stein, Sandbanks
Gary Kilminster – Business Development Executive, Essential Cuisine
David Marshall – Chef Lecturer – Bournemouth and Poole College

Mentor judge:
Pete Murt


Gloucestershire College, Cheltenham

Monday 1st July 2.00pm

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:
Gus Ashenford


Bridgwater and Taunton College, Taunton

Tuesday 2nd July 3.00pm

Liam Finnegan – Head Chef, The Castle Hotel, Taunton
Chris Cleghorn – Head Chef, The Olive Room, Queensberry Hotel, Bath
Dean Perry – Chef Lecturer, Bridgwater and Taunton College

Mentor judge:
Liam Finnegan


Wiltshire College Trowbridge

Tuesday 9th July 3.00pm

Hywel Jones, Executive Chef, Lucknam Park, Bath
Rob Potter, Executive Head Chef, The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe
Stephen Lloyd, Chef Lecturer, Wiltshire College

Mentor judge:
Hywel Jones