Busy Bees Training’s ‘Greens to Gourmet’ Culinary Challenge 19 - Nov - 2015

Young aspiring Chefs in Birmingham impress at the final of Busy Bees Training’s ‘Greens to Gourmet’ Culinary Challenge

With guest judge Luke Tipping, Chef Director at Birmingham’s Top Michelin star restaurant, Simpsons

Four aspiring young chefs from schools in Birmingham cooked up a storm in the kitchen at Harborne Food School in the final of the Busy Bees Training ‘Greens to Gourmet’, held on the 19th November.

Secondary school students from across Birmingham were invited to don their chef whites and put their culinary skills to the test for the Busy Bees Training ‘Greens to Gourmet’ Cookery Challenge. Earlier in the year, Food Technology students were asked to prepare a delicious meal from one of two mystery bags, filled with healthy, seasonal ingredients.

The best dishes went on to the finals, where an expert panel had the tough task of deciding the overall winner. Award winning Chef Director Luke Tipping kindly took time out of the kitchen at one of Birmingham’s most respected Michelin starred restaurants, Simpsons, to form part of the judging team and offer his expert advice to the young chefs. Colin Diamond, Interim Executive Director of Education at Birmingham Council and Jane Bagnall, Quality Assurance Office at Busy Bees Training joined Luke in judging the four final-worthy dishes.

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It was a closely-run final, but the winning dish was Tre Whitelock’s from Wheelers Lane Technology College, who cooked a delicious chocolate and orange tart. As well as a £25 Amazon voucher, Tre has been invited to enjoy an all-expenses paid meal for four at Simpsons.*

Runner up was D’Wayne Campbell, with his creative vegetable rice with pineapple from Aston Manor Academy, and each of the entrants efforts were commended with £25 Amazon vouchers.

Talking about his involvement, Luke Tipping said:

“It has been well documented that our industry needs more chefs and I’m proud to be involved in initiatives that encourage young people to pursue a career in catering, as well as develop skills that will help them lead a healthy lifestyle. I myself have two children, and from a very young age they were involved in cooking and it’s now second nature to them. As parents, I think it is our responsibility to work with schools to ensure all young adults develop competency in the kitchen and understand how to cook a meal using fresh ingredients.

“Simpsons has been a training ground for many great local chefs and we are committed to nurturing the skills of young people. It’s great to speak to the children here today and see the passion and focus they have for cooking.”

Talking about the winning dish, Luke goes on to say;

“I was wowed by the talent today and really impressed with the cooking techniques on display during the prep and creation of their dishes, but Tre’s Chocolate and Orange Tart was very well presented, and was technically very good. We were very impressed that Tre also made his own pastry from scratch which can be tricky to get right. Overall, the focus and dedication each of the young chefs showed was very commendable and wonderful to see. They all said they would one day like to work in a professional kitchen after completing school, and if they continue to show this much commitment I’m sure they will go on to become great chefs.”

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Birmingham’s Interim Executive Director of Education, Colin Diamond, goes on to say why initiatives like this are so important;

“I’m delighted to be involved in any activity that aims to inspire and offer young people important experiences and life skills. I’ve been amazed at the level of creativity each of the pupils have shown, and it was very difficult to choose just one winner. To see how engaged the young people were and how much effort was put into their dishes was wonderful, and I’m looking forward to seeing what talent aspires from next year’s competition.”

Talking about the motivation behind the competition, Training Manager, Fay Gibbin said:

“Busy Bees Training currently offers catering apprenticeships throughout our nurseries, and will soon offer to external independent settings, so we know the level of creativity and passion young people can bring to the industry. We wanted to hold an incentive that would encourage the spark of interest Food Technology students have in catering, and offer them the chance to take part in a fun and creative activity that would provide them with an exciting learning experience.

“We are looking forward to next years ‘Greens to Gourmet’ competition, which will again aim to inspire young people in Birmingham to pursue their passion for food and cookery, while offering them the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom.”

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Any schools wishing to take part in next year’s competition can contact Claire Kniveton on claire.kniveton@busybees.com or call 01543 711 131.

*Terms and conditions apply