The Springboard FutureChef competition has been won by Jessica Mitchell, 14, from the High School of Glasgow.
The competition's final, which puts young chefs in the spotlight to foster emerging talent, took place at Westminster Kingsway College in London yesterday. The 12- to 16-year-old competitors were whittled down from 14,352 to just 12, with Mitchell coming top in school, local and regional heats,
Mitchell said: "Before FutureChef, I had thought about becoming a chef, but I thought it seemed a bit scary. Working with my mentor and having the chance to work in a professional kitchen has encouraged me to pursue it as a career."
Sue Mitchell, Jessica's mum, said she was"chuffed", and added that it was "an experience you could never have bought, and it has definitely cemented her wish to work in the hospitality sector. I couldn't be prouder!"
Mitchell produced a main of chicken breast with butternut squash, confit chicken leg and fondant potato, and an apple and frangipane tart with a vanilla pod parfait and caramelised apple for dessert.
Among those overseeing the awards was Craft Guild vice-president and Sodexo culinary director David Mulcahy, National Chef of the Year winner Kuba Winkowski and president of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Brian Turner.
Turner said: "There are two reasons why we need FutureChef. The first is that there isn't nearly enough domestic science and food tech being taught today, so young people aren't learning the basic skills of cooking that sustain their way of living. Second, it encourages people to develop their skills and enter into the industry."