Eleven-year-old Mina Tideswell has been named Stoke-on-Trent’s Junior Chef of the Year 2018 after cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
The youngster was crowned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s City Catering Service after her dish impressed judges following a week-long competition.
A total of 33 pupils (aged seven to 11) from 22 schools across the city took part in ‘cook off’ sessions throughout the week, with a winner and runner-up chosen from each one.
Mina, who attends Greenways Primary School, in Stockton Brook, came out on top with her dish – Staffordshire Sausage Paella. The winner was announced today during a presentation ceremony at Stoke Town Hall. Mina received a chef’s uniform, selection of cooking equipment and winner’s trophy and certificate. Her school also received a COOKIT set worth £780. Mina’s winning dish will now feature as an option on primary school menus across the city.
She said: “I’m really happy to have won the competition. My mum does a lot of cooking at home and I like to help her out in the kitchen as much as I can. It will be really exciting to see my dish on the menu at school, and I’m looking forward to seeing what my friends think about it.”
Children taking part had to produce four plates of food in the ‘cook off’ sessions. This included a savoury dish that can be prepared, cooked and served in 60 minutes. Recipes were judged on taste, texture, appearance, creativity, and the best and most use of local ingredients. Many schools held mini competitions as a way of selecting their representatives for the challenge.
All budding junior chefs taking part in the competition received a certificate of participation and a commemorative souvenir at the presentation ceremony. Session winners received a winner’s certificate, cookery book and goodie bag.
Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for education and economy, said: “I’d like to congratulate Mina and all of the young chefs who took part in the competition. This is the third year we have held the competition and some of the cooking skills on display considering the age group were quite incredible. It was great to see, and all the children who took part should be very proud of their efforts.
“The competition is all about increasing the interest in cooking in school and at home. Many children grow up never learning how to cook and are at a loss when they finally move out and have to fend for themselves. There are plenty of meals which are child and adult friendly, quick to prepare and high in nutritional value, and cooking together helps bring a positive long-term attitude towards food, eating and healthy living.”
The City Catering Service provides 16,000 school meals each day to establish good eating habits from an early age.
For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232987.