Bristol’s Young Cook and Young Apprentice of the Year have been crowned after a final cook off which took place at the Square Food Foundation.
The Young Cook award went to Luca Markey Cruz, a student from Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, who beat six others to the top spot. Stephanie Williams from Fairfield High School won the Young Apprentice award and has been offered a place on the new School of Food apprenticeship programme, giving her access to high-quality kitchens, industry experts and invaluable insights on how to be a chef.
The competition took place as part of the Teaching a City to Cook programme, a pilot launched by Bristol City Council earlier this year to get more children and families cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients and eating healthily. The programme, which included a digital toolkit with recipe ideas and practical advice, was developed with the help of local professional chefs including Josh Eggleton (Pony and Trap), Adrian Kirikmaa (St Monica’s Trust) and Barny Haughton (Square Food Foundation).
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “I want to congratulate both Luca and Stephanie on their success and thank all our local chefs for their valuable support. Being able to cook fresh, healthy food which is affordable is a key life skill as good nutrition is essential for both physical and mental wellbeing. In the long term, I hope that programmes like this will inspire a new generation to cook and ultimately help to reduce health inequalities.”
Luca said: “I’m delighted to have won the competition and to have shown the judges what I’m capable of. I have really enjoyed taking part in the competition and will be encouraging my friends to get involved next year. I am going to keep trying new dishes at home.”
As Young Apprentice, Stephanie has been invited to attend the School of Food which was established by Josh Eggleton and Adrian Kirikmaa in partnership with St Monica Trust, Weston College, St Katherine’s School and Ashton Gate Stadium as a direct response to industry feedback.
She said “I am still thinking about what I want to do but am thrilled that I won the competition and been invited to go to the School of Food.”
Speaking on behalf of the judges, Barny Haughton said: “All the finalists put in a great performance and we were impressed by their focus, skills and flair in their cooking, but our winners just had the edge. I hope that the Teaching a City to Cook programme has helped to inspire those who took part and they become ambassadors for the programme by sharing their experiences with friends and family.”
Teaching a City to Cook links to the Sugar Smart Bristol campaign, which launched last year to tackle the high levels of obesity and tooth decay in the city. The cross cultural elements of the Teaching a City to Cook programme were created in partnership with the 91 Ways local initiative.
You can find out more about the programme and download lesson plans and digital toolkit from the Live Well website; www.bristol.gov.uk/youngcooks.
Top tips for other aspiring young chefs from this year’s winners;
Set aside time to cook – maybe one evening a week or on the weekend, find some time where you can enjoy cooking and not feel rushed
Find the right recipe – work out what type of thing you enjoy cooking and give it a try
Find the flavour – you don’t have to buy expensive ingredients to create fantastic meals. It’s about working out what works well together and not being afraid to experiment
Don’t be afraid to fail – if you try something and it doesn’t work out, don’t let that put you off
Feel good factor – food can really bring people together and the best part is often sharing it with friends and family
Music to cook to – cooking can help you relax, and it’s even more fun when you put on your favourite tunes
Practice makes perfect – but don’t forget to try new things