Star judges for UCB Young Chef of the Year 2018 competition

Two high-profile chefs, known to millions of food-lovers, have been unveiled as judges for the final of the University College Birmingham Young Chef of the Year 2018 competition.

Supported by Maple Products from Quebec, the competition, which is in its second year, is aimed school children aged 14 to 16. The best young chefs will go head-to-head in the grand final at UCB on January 20 when their dishes will come under the scrutiny of celebrity chef Glynn Purnell and SORTEDfood’s Ben Ebbrell.

Glynn, a popular presenter on shows such as the BBC’s “Saturday Kitchen” and Channel 4’s “My Kitchen Rules,” is chef patron of Michelin-starred Purnell’s in Birmingham. He will be joined by Ben, a graduate of UCB, who founded SORTEDfood online and has grown it into one of the world’s largest YouTube food channels with nearly 1.8 million subscribers.

Fellow judges will include David Colcombe, UK chef ambassador for the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.

Glynn said: “I am delighted to be a judge for the final and am looking forward to trying the dishes. The standard of cooking, and the commitment of the pupils, was terrific last year and I am sure the bar will be raised even further this time around.”

Ben said: “It’s great that young chefs are given a platform to showcase their skills. My tip is to keep things simple, concentrate on the flavours, make sure the dish means something to you, and you enjoy cooking it. It really shows.”

Young cooks have until November 14 to enter the competition. They must submit a two-course menu – a hot main course and a hot, or cold, dessert – for two dinners within a budget of £10. As an exciting additional challenge, one of the dishes must feature pure Canadian maple syrup.

The pupils with the best menus will be invited to take part in cook-offs at UCB, culminating in the final in January. The top chef will win an iPad Pro and their school will receive £500 of cookery equipment.

Maple Products from Quebec has been staging a series of “maple masterclasses” with UCB at local schools to promote the competition and boost young people’s kitchen skills.

Pupils can enter the contest via the online form at UCB

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