Emma Hay is Kirkcudbright Rotary Club Young Chef Star!

Last Saturday, Emma Hay travelled to Glasgow Clyde College to take part in the Regional Final of the annual Rotary Young Chef competition. Having been previously successful in the Area and then the District rounds of this competition, Emma was, once again, representing the Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright and her school, Kirkcudbright Academy at this next stage of this competition.

The Rotary Young Chef competition which has been run for the past six years and is open to anyone aged 11 to 17 years, was created to give young people the chance to show their creative culinary talents, to promote healthy eating and to learn important life skills. The young chefs are judged on their healthy menu, planning and organisational skills, hygiene, preparation skills and of course, the taste and presentation of the final dishes.

Competing against six other Young Chefs from Scotland, Emma prepared and cooked a three course meal. Her starter of seared Kirkcudbright king scallops with chorizo, resting on a minted pea purée was followed by a main course of pan fried Gressingham duck breast served on a bed of braised red cabbage with sweet potato mash and a gin and redcurrant jus. Her dessert, which was judged as the best dessert, was Scottish raspberry cheesecake served with a homemade honey and oatmeal ice cream, a brandy snap basket and a raspberry coulis​.

The competition was judged by three resident tutor chefs who work at Glasgow Clyde College and all were genuinely astounded by the high standard of dishes produced by all six of the young students. They commented that the food that was served up by all of the Young Chefs was on a par with, if not better than, the food being produced by their own full time students, and suggested that they might now use the Young Chef’s menus for their own students to try and then use in the College restaurant! They also made a point of complimenting and congratulating the girls’ Home Economics teachers for helping to develop such talented young people.

The judges went on to say  that, on the evidence of the food that had been prepared and served, any one of the six Young Chefs could have been chosen to go forward to represent the Region in the UK Final in Dundee in April. It was therefore very unfortunate for Emma that she was not judged to have won the competition. However, she must be congratulated on the consistently high standard that she has achieved in this competition this year as well as the very professional way she has approached this challenge at a time when she has been heavily involved with school examinations. This competition has clearly demonstrated how a school and a community based organisation like Rotary can successfully work together to develop young people to their full potential.


Emma has asked that it be known that she would like to thank Ballards the Butchers in Castle Douglas for sponsoring the duck for her main course and The Talk of the Town in Newton Stewart for glittering the glasses for her table setting. Finally she offers her sincere thanks to Miss Porteous, her Home Economics Teacher at Kirkcudbright Academy, and to Paul Tebay of Kirkcudbright Rotary Club for his continued support in each and every round of the Young Chef Competition.


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