Sixteen-year old Jessica Higgins has been crowned winner of Futurechef 2011.
Higgins saw off stiff competition from 11 other finalists with her menu, impressing a panel of high profile judges, including Theo Randall, Cyrus Todiwala OBE, Joe Queen, and David Mulcahy of Sodexo.
Higgins said: "I am speechless and overwhelmed, the competition was tough and it really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I feel I have accomplished a lot.
"I am really grateful for this opportunity and all the support given to me through Springboard's FutureChef."
The 12 talented young national finalists were challenged to produce a two course meal for four people within a two hour time limit.
Higgins' winning menu, created from a basket of ingredients compiled by the Craft Guild of Chefs, included a main course of confit and pan fried sea bass, carrot puree, broad beans and sundried tomatoes, potato skins and shallots served with a fondant potato and Buerre Blanc.
She followed with a dessert of rich chocolate fondant with a tangy orange scent, served with glazed oranges.
Dee Smith, head of youth programmes at Springboard said that to make it to the national final is a fantastic achievement. "Congratulations to Jessica for winning this year, I wish her all the best in the future," she added.
A record number of 739 schools registered for the 2011 competition. which saw 7897 students participate nationwide to take part in Springboard's FutureChef.
The FutureChef 2011 finalists:
- Winner: Jessica Higgins, 16, South Bromsgrove High School, West Midlands
- Runner up: Meghan Bell, 14, Ferrers Specialist Arts College, East Midlands
- Third: Ruth Hansom, 15, Longfield School, North East England
- Fourth: Elisha Potter, 15, Teignmouth Community College, West Country
- Jordan Esmaeli, 14, St Michael's C of E High School, North West England
- Christopher Marshall, 14, Wellington School, Northern Ireland
- Jane MacInnes, 13, Back School, North Scotland
- Kelly Read, 16, Hampton College, East of England
- William Kent, 15, Passmores School and Technology College, London
- Rachel Notarangelo, 14, Holy Rood High School, Central & South Scotland
- Steffan Davies, 16, Tre-gib Comprehensive School, Wales
- Faye Hardy, 14, Blenheim School, South East England
The FutureChef 2011 judges:
- David Mulcahy, craft & food development director, Sodexo UK & Ireland
- Matt Owens, executive pastry chef, Zuidam UK
- Joe Queen, executive chef, Hilton Hotels
- Cyrus Todiwala OBE, proprietor and executive chef of the Café Spice Namasté
- Theo Randall, chef-patron at Theo Randall at the InterContinental
- Derek Quelch, executive chef, The Goring Hotel
- Steve Munkley, executive chef, the Royal Garden Hotel
- Kerry Johansen, FutureChef 2010 Winner
By Janie Stamford
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