YOUNG chefs wowed the judges in an annual competition.

Cockermouth Rotary Club staged the Annual Young Chef Competition for Year 9 pupils at Cockermouth School, in conjunction with the Food and Nutrition Department.

Head of department Claire Bale and her staff provided eight finalists for the competition. They were given a budget of £8 to prepare a two-course meal for two.

Head judge was chef Stuart Powley from The Cottage in the Wood Restaurant, who advised Rotarian judges - President Joe Fagan, Paul Lack and Mike Telford. Staff also helped out.

Mr Lack, chairman of youth services, said: "The judges were impressed with the organisation, technical skills and the range of challenging dishes presented by all of the competitors.

"In an extremely close contest it was decide to award a joint winners' prize for only the second time in the competition’s history to Charlotte Bone and Molly Brew for their outstanding performances."

Charlotte’s menu consisted of creamy Tuscan garlic chicken, served with baby potatoes and broccoli and lemon syllabub served with locally sourced blackberry compote and shortbread thins.

Molly’s menu consisted of pot roast pheasant, served on a bed of savoy cabbage with cider and bacon and tiramisu made with rum purchased from The Rum Story in Whitehaven.

Molly said: “I really enjoy cooking, I was quite calm at the start but felt the pressure build towards the end. My goal is to be a chef when I leave school.”

The girls were presented with prizes and the Mike Wilde Plate by Mr Fagan.

He said “I was fortunate to judge this completion last year and the standard was extremely high, but you have certainly surpassed this. The quality of the food you have produced is outstanding.”

Mrs Bale said: “The students always look forward to this event; they put a lot of effort into the planning and preparation leading up to the competition to ensure their menus and timings are correct.

"Who would expect a 14 year old to make their own pasta, let alone make ravioli? The students really do want to showcase their skills and this is an ideal opportunity.”