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Fatimah tastes MasterChef 2019 success

Fourth Year pupil Fatimah-Zahra Hassan was delighted to be chosen as the winner of the 2019 MasterChef competition after impressing judges from Almond Family Pubs.

Fatimah’s dishes of tuna kebabs and chapatti with curry sauces took top spot – just ahead of runner-up, First Year Freya Niven and her combination of Greek meze and strawberry and lime cheesecake.

The girls were joined in the final by First Year Priya Burrow, Second Years Anna Collins-Room and Millie Gallimore, Third Years Bella Platt and Jessica Duck and Fourth Year Hannah Wilkinson after their delicious dishes wowed Food and Nutrition staff Miss Sarah Hodkinson and Mrs Hilary Oddy in the semi-final.

Speaking after winning, Fatimah said: “I have competed in MasterChef every year since I joined the school in First Year and I was aiming to enjoy it, whether I won or not. The atmosphere was competitive yet encouraging and I would encourage people who are thinking of pursuing a career in the industry, or if they want to improve their cooking and presentation skills, to get involved.”

Runner up Freya said: “I often cook at home for fun but cooking against the clock for the judges made it much more challenging and exciting. Although we were all competing, the vibe in the kitchen was resoundingly supportive and positive. My success would not have been possible without the encouragement and advice from my teachers and the support from the other pupils taking part.”

Almond Family Pubs Director Mr James Almond, who judged the entries alongside fellow Director Vicki Almond, commented: “The passion for food the pupils have was clearly evident and I was impressed that they took some challenges to make harder dishes and not just take the easy route. The food on show was really global with lots of flavours coming through. I would be proud to serve any of the dishes that made the final at any of our pubs and we give huge credit to everyone who took part.”

Indeed, the winning dish will be featured on the menu as a special at Fatimah’s chosen Almond Pub as a reward for coming first. Both Fatimah and Freya will also have the opportunity to take their families along for a complimentary meal to sample their dish. Additionally, finalist Bella has been offered a week’s work experience at the company due to her clear passion for food impressing James and Vicki.

Miss Hodkinson added: “It is an absolute pleasure to see pupils so enthusiastic about food. We have been blown away by the standard of the dishes produced by all competitors. As a department we aim to encourage a lifelong love of food and a desire to experiment with new dishes, whilst developing high level skills in a safe environment. I would like to express my thanks to the Almond family for their time and encouragement. It provides a great opportunity for our pupils to see how the food industry works and how they could be involved in the future.”

Mrs Oddy concluded: “It was great that the pupils took the skills and techniques shown in lessons to a new height and their passion for food made it very difficult to judge. We want more boys and girls to take part next year so get looking for your recipe ideas now!”