PICTURES: Young culinary star wins Masterchef competition involving Highland schools
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A rising culinary star has been crowned after she won an annual Masterchef competition for secondary school pupils.
Rosie Conroy, from Charleston Academy, was named champion of this year's Rotary-organised competition, after the final took place in front of dozens of parents, chefs and other onlookers at the UHI Inverness campus last night (Tuesday).
The evening saw some impressive culinary skills on show in front of a 60-strong audience as well as renowned food writer Lady Claire Macdonald and Michael Smith from Loch Bay Restaurant in Skye, who were this year’s judges.
Rotary Club of Inverness Culloden co-ordinated the competition across heats, a semi-final, and final that included a day working in local restaurants. This valuable work experience also formed part of the final judging process.
Five local schools took part this year including Charleston Academy, Fortrose Academy, Inverness High School, Inverness Royal Academy and Nairn Academy. Past winners have also gone on to represent the area at regional level.
Sponsored by Williamson Foodservice in Inverness, the final saw the remaining four junior chefs cook a two-course meal with a budget of up to £15.
MD of Williamson Foodservice Gary Williamon said: “We are delighted to be involved again in this competition as it gives young people a real enthusiasm for cooking as well as insight into the hospitality sector that we hope they may develop further interest in.
"We are indebted to local chefs and restaurants who actively participate in the early judging. Without them we could not run the competition as professionally as we do.”
Duncan MacDonald from the Rotary Club of Inverness Culloden said: “It is great to see schools embrace this years competition again and I’d like to express my gratitude to the teachers who co-ordinate the competition and the time they devote to making this a valuable learning experience for all of those taking part.
“A big thank you to UHI Inverness too as their professional cooking and presentation facilities provide a brilliant final venue for the young chefs themselves and those who support them.”
Professor Chris O’Neil, Principal and Chief Executive of UHI Inverness, said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the winner and all the participants, and I look forward to seeing more from these great young chefs in the future. It is a pleasure to host an event that sees talented students from schools across our area come together to showcase their skills and passion for cookery.
“It is important to support and encourage young talent and this is a great platform for high school pupils to gain hands-on experience and explore their interest in cooking. We are pleased to continue to support this annual competition which plays an important role in nurturing and shaping the future of the hospitality industry.”
Saurav Kumar, a Professional Cookery lecturer at UHI Inverness, supported the event by judging the preliminary and semi-final rounds.
Finalist included Rosie Conroy, Charleston Academy; Fraser Ross, Fortrose Academy; Alicja Wojcieszczuk; Inverness High School; Ava Inglis, Inverness Royal Academy.