UCB Young Chef of the Year 2018

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has launched a new partnership with University College Birmingham to find the Young Chef of the Year 2018.

The competition for pupils aged 14 to 16 is being supported by the federation through its brand Maple Products from Quebec.

Young cooks in Years 10 and 11 have to submit two dishes – a hot main course and a hot, or cold, dessert – as part of an initial online entry. The pupils with the best menus, for which the budget is £10, will be invited to take part in cook-offs at University College Birmingham (UCB).

In a further test of their creativity and skills, competitors have to include 100% pure Canadian maple syrup as a key ingredient in one of their two dishes.

David Colcombe, UK chef ambassador for the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, will help judge the entries with UCB’s Culinary Team and join the judges for the cook-offs. The competition culminates in the grand final at UCB’s College of Food on January 20, 2018, when the budget is increased to £15.

Serge Beaulieu, President of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, said: “Cookery teaches young people valuable skills that stay with them for life and it will be great to see how the competitors incorporate pure, natural maple syrup into their dishes and learn to cook with this great, versatile ingredient.”

Chef Colcombe said: “Maple Products from Quebec is delighted to partner with UCB and help develop the next generation of chefs. Maple syrup is a wonderful, pure ingredient, with lots of interesting, tasty and ethnically diverse culinary applications for savoury dishes and desserts.”

The federation has already launched an affiliation with UCB, the first of its kind in the UK, which involves developing a maple products education programme to sit alongside culinary students’ undergraduate modules.

As part of the Young Chef of the Year competition, Chef Colcombe will conduct a series of maple masterclasses, focusing on practical cookery skills, at eight West Midlands schools.

The competition features a £1,000 prize fund of cookery equipment vouchers for the top-placed pupils’ schools. All finalists will be presented with a UCB/Maple Products from Quebec branded chef jacket and the winner will win an iPad Pro and trophy.

The competition is a great activity for schools teaching cookery at GCSE level, and will appeal to students considering progressing to professional chef courses.

Neil Rippington, Dean of UCB’s College of Food, said: “The UCB Young Chef of the Year competition is a great way of getting young people involved in practical cookery. We saw some highly innovative dishes in our inaugural contest last year, reflecting a great range of techniques and cultural influences.

“The competition can be used by schools as a fantastic learning exercise and we would encourage teachers and pupils to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.”

Pupils can get some top tips about preparing their menus – and enter the contest – via University College Birmingham’s website: http://www.ucb.ac.uk/news/latest-news/2017/09/14-ucb-young-chef-of-the-year.aspx

Last year’s competition was won by 16-year-old Emily Humphreys, of Kings Norton Girls School, Birmingham – who only entered the contest after a friend told her to have a go.

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