A MILLBURN Academy pupil has walked away with the title of local Schools Masterchef for the second year in a row after taking part in the Inverness final.
Second-year pupil Lucia Savage (13) was one of four pupils to showcase their culinary skills on November 24 in front of an audience of 80 people at Inverness College UHI, Inverness Campus.
The event is organised annually by the Rotary Club of Inverness Culloden and sponsored by Williamson Foodservice.
The judges struggled to choose between Lucia and Roxy Elgar (13) from Inverness Royal Academy, and spent more than 20 minutes deliberating.
They were also impressed by the meals created by Chloe Fea (15) of Fortrose Academy and Cora Ditta (14) of Inverness Royal Academy.
Alan Goff, organiser from the Rotary Club said: "All of the contestants were extremely good and received high praise from the judges, which was brilliant.
"There was a wonderful turn-out from family and friends, and some of the dishes were wonderfully exotic."
As judging the competition was so close the organisers have vowed to appeal to the committee who organise the national Rotary Club cooking championships to see if they would allow Roxy to progress to the overall final alongside Lucia, who progresses automatically.
Lady Claire Macdonald from Kinloch Lodge Hotel in Skye and Michael Smith from the Loch Bay Restaurant in Skye were judges for the night.
This is the fourth year that the local competition has been held in Inverness.
One of Lucia’s winning dishes included a salted caramel and ginger sponge served with a decadent coffee sauce and ice cream.
However the judges had good things to say about all of the dishes and were impressed by the high standards.
Eric Milne, president of the Rotary Club of Culloden Inverness, said: "We aim to encourage young people to learn how to cook healthy meals and develop effective organisational, planning and food presentation skills.
"Local chefs who have participated in earlier rounds of the competition as judges openly shared their enthusiasm, advice, skills and kitchens with the finalists and I am very grateful to them for their participation.
"I would also like to acknowledge Inverness College UHI for providing such an excellent venue for the final and to Lady Claire Macdonald and Michael Smith who travelled from Skye to judge the finalists’ dishes."
Managing director of Williamson Foodservice, Gary Williamson said: "Standards have been exceptionally high this year.
"The Schools Masterchef competition creates vital linkages between education, hospitality and the wider food and drink industry.
"Learning basic skills and understanding more about the food around them serves young people well whatever career path they choose to follow."
He added: "Hospitality is a lynchpin of the Highland economy and we are keen to encourage more people like these talented contestants to consider it as a career option.
"This will provide hotels, restaurants, cafés and other catering establishments with a high quality labour pool to draw from as the sector continues to grow."