Two of our talented Year 10 have this week won a local cookery competition ran by Lakes College. The competition was designed to encourage more young people to think about a career in hospitality, and also to think about sustainability and where their food comes from.

Mia Smurthwaite and Paige Gibbs, both from Year 10, qualified for the final after winning their school heat earlier this month.

Emma Donoghue from Lakes College came into school to judge the heats, with other Year 10 students also competing with Mia and Paige. After some very impressive cooking from all of the students, the girls were chosen to represent St Benedict’s at the grand final on Monday 17th June, which was judged by Michelin starred chef Jack Bond from the Cottage in the Wood at Keswick.

Emma said:

“The students were brilliant, Paige and Mia were confident, they showcased their skills to a very high standard and it was a pleasure to have them in the kitchen.”

“The standard was high and the students at St Benedicts produced some brilliant dishes for me to try when I came out to judge the first round.”

At the final, they competed against other teams from St Joeseph’s School, Workington Academy, Netherhall School and Beacon Hill School.

Mia & Paige worked as a team, and cooked Chicken Katsu Curry with Lemon and Thyme Rice and accompanied by a Nigella Seed Naan.

Mia said:

“We made a Katsu Curry with lemon and thyme rice accompanied with a Naan Bread. I enjoyed the competition and loved working in the big industrial kitchens at Lakes College. I hope to join the college in the future to further my education.”

“The competition helped widen my view on what it would be like to be a student there and to work in their kitchen. I have learned that practice makes perfect! At the start of the prep for the competition I had no idea how to make panko or katsu curry sauce but now I must say I’m rather good at it. To win the competition was just the icing on the cake.”

Paige also enjoyed the experience saying:

“It was absolutely amazing to cook in the competition,  I loved the experience so much. It gave me some ideas of doing catering as a career option. I learned so much from this like how too make Naan Bread, how to properly present it and how the ingredients are sustainable.”

“All together I really enjoyed it and would encourage so many people to choose catering as a GCSE option to have an amazing opportunity like this.”

Mr Boal, teacher of Hospitality & Catering said:

“We are extremely proud of Mia and Paige, this is a fantastic achievement for them both. The planning they both completed before the competition was meticulous, they showed an understanding of ingredients and flavours way beyond their age. They cooked with precision on the day, Jack Bond commented on their cookery skills and their knowledge of sustainable cookery. I hope both girls go on to make their mark in the industry. Well done girls!”