Jessica Newbould, a level three student of professional cookery at Boston College in Lincolnshire, has won the inaugural OliveIt! competition following a final live cooking session to a panel of industry judges and 40 guests at the Central Street Cookery School in London yesterday evening.
The new competition is backed by the European Union and Olives of Spain, in partnership with Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution in London. Among the judges were José Souto, chef lecturer at Westminster Kingsway College, Lisa Jenkins, products and suppliers editor of Caterer and Hotelkeeper, and Rachel Smith of The Food I Eat.
The judges were impressed by the 19-year-old's menu, which incorporated olives as an integral part of every dish. The creative four-course meal included canapés of black olive tapenade bruschetta; a double-baked green olive soufflé with black pepper and parmesan, chive and red onion Hollandaise; chicken supreme stuffed with olive, tomato garlic almonds and citrus, and a dark chocolate and black olive tart with pistachio ice cream and a pineapple, basil and olive compote.
Newbould was delighted with her win, and was presented with her prize of an all-inclusive gastronomic weekend for two to visit the olive harvest in Spain, worth £4,000, plus £400 of chef's professional equipment of their choice and a week's placement at Allibhoy's Tapas Revolution restaurant in London.
Allibhoy said: "The creativity, preparation and thought that went into Jessica's menu was extraordinary. The double-baked soufflé was a triumph."
Souto, who helped shape the competition and chair of judges, agreed: "The judges tasted 32 dishes overall and we were hugely impressed with the level of skills demonstrated, the thought process that had gone into the menus and the time devoted to the students by their lecturers".
Finalists Georgia Claxton, also of Boston College, and Aston Knight of Accrington and Rossendale College were placed second and third will also receive £400 each of professional chef's equipment of their choice.