Fourth year pupil Jaina Mistry has beaten off competition from 10 other local students to be named this year’s Red Tractor Beef and Lamb Young Chef Challenge regional winner for the north-west.
Jaina’s Food Technology teacher, Mrs Ruth Groves, submitted her entry alongside hundreds more from all over the country before 47 youngsters were selected to represent their regions at six cook-off events judged by TV chef James Martin.
On Monday 14th November, Jaina was awarded the regional winner title by James after wowing the judges with her innovative meatball curry with salad and naan, with points scored for originality, nutrition and presentation. She won an iPod Touch plus £200 in vouchers, and fellow Stockport Grammar pupils Ed Robinson and Katy Bacon were also highly commended.
Jaina will now be up against five other regional winners when James Martin handpicks the overall national winner who will enjoy a money can’t buy trip to London. During this exclusive visit, the winner will go behind the scenes of BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen to watch an episode filmed live and will also find out what it’s like to be a chef in the kitchen as James takes them on a tour of two of the capital’s most prestigious restaurants during a lunch and dinner service.
Speaking about Jaina’s win, James Martin said:
The standard of entries this year was extremely high and Jaina has done exceptionally well to be named regional winner.
Her recipe was innovative, nutritious and well presented – but most importantly, it tasted great! It was clear that everyone worked really hard, so choosing the national champion is going to be a really tough choice.
It’s now more important than ever before to inspire young people to cook properly and this challenge is a perfect platform for them to learn about food, cooking and nutrition. I hope that Jaina’s success will encourage more young people from the local area to get cooking and to try out new and different recipes.
Speaking in a live interview on BBC Radio Manchester, Jaina told how the recipe had been handed down through her family and she was delighted to be taking part, doing something she really enjoys.
Denise Spencer-Walker, food advisor for Red Tractor beef and lamb, said:
We received hundreds of inventive and exciting recipe ideas this year, so whittling them down to just 47 regional finalists was hard work.
Choosing Jaina over many other budding chefs was a difficult decision, but her enthusiasm for good food gave her the winning edge.
I hope that all the students who entered will be inspired to make cooking a bigger part of their day to day lives both now and in the future.