Wandsworth Top Young Chef Named

Harris Academy student Nell Cairo scoops 2015 title

A dish of sweet potato and king prawn risotto helped Harris Academy Battersea student Nell Cairo win the title of Wandsworth Young Chef of the Year.

Nell (pictured far left of group), who at 14 was the youngest person in the competition, beat off stiff competition to win the inter-school cookery competition. She has picked up a cheque for £250.

Judges praised the layers of different flavours built into her dishes. Her meal started with leek and potato veloute served with brioche and pudding was coconut flan with caramelised clementine and spun sugar.

This is the second year the competition has been held and seven schools from around the borough took part.

The competition, run by the Mayor of Wandsworth and the council’s public health team, teaches young people how to cook good healthy food to a budget, and gives them the opportunity to access training, mentoring and valuable experience in the catering industry with a view to helping them get jobs in the future.

All the finalists received extensive support and mentoring to prepare for the final, and were taught skills and techniques. They have also been on a trip to Billingsgate Market to learn how to source, select and fillet fish and attended a masterclass hosted by The Hospitality & Catering Academy of South Thames College.

Nick Vadis, UK Executive Chef of the major catering contractor Compass, provided chefs to train and mentor all the finalists. Judges included Anna Haugh-Kelly, head chef of Gordon Ramsay’s London House restaurant in Battersea and Ross Anderson from South Thames College.

The Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Stuart Thom said: "The quality of the food from all the finalists this year was outstanding, but the flavours in Nell’s menu really packed a punch. I would like to thank her and all the other students that took part for their hard work, as well as everyone who has mentored and supported the students.

“I hope this experience will give them a taste of what it is like to cook professionally and stand them in good stead for the future if they chose to enter the catering industry.”


April 4, 2015