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Bath College welcomed six ambitious young chefs into its student kitchens for the South West Chef of the Year Competition.
 

The college, which has a thriving hospitality and catering department, hosted the Somerset semi-final for the junior stage of the competition.
 

Contestants aged 11 to 16, from across Somerset, had one and a half hours to prepare their dishes and impress the judges.
 

They were challenged to demonstrate skill and creativity in cooking, as well as a knowledge of produce from south west England.
 

Bath College catering lecturer Kean Maslen joined Sam Moody, from The Bath Priory, and Elly Wentworth, from Lucknam Park, on the judging panel.
 

All the judges spent time chatting to contestants about their dishes and marking them for the way they worked in the kitchen.

 

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Mr Maslen said: “Some of the dishes were really ambitious. It’s brilliant to see young people cooking with local ingredients and enjoying themselves.
 

“It would be great if this competition inspires them to go on to a college course or encourages them to cook for themselves instead of getting a takeaway.”
 

Kiara Boobyer, from Holyrood Academy, Chard, entered the competition after speaking to her food technology teacher.
 

“I quite enjoyed it. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did because I thought it would be nerve-wracking. I like it when people eat my food and say it’s really good, you feel proud of yourself.”

 

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Judges presented certificates to everyone taking part and chose Ethan Bull as the winner of the semi-final competition.
 

The overall winner will be offered work experience with David Everitt- Matthias at the two Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham.
 

Ethan, from Crispin School, Street, said: “I’m really surprised and pleased to have won the semi-final competition.
 
“I entered because I wanted to gain more experience and get more advice from chefs. I liked the pressure of the competition and trying to work to time. It’s something I really enjoy and would like to pursue in the future.”
 
Executive head chef Sam Moody has volunteered his time to help Ethan work on his dish before the final on October 15 at Ashburton Cookery School, Devon.
 
Mr Moody said: “It was great to see a real selection of dishes. It’s so important that young people enjoy cooking and it’s essential that chefs encourage young cooks to join our industry.
 
“I work at the top end of hospitality, so it’s important for me to come and show people what I do because not everyone is interested in working in a Michelin-starred restaurant. Cooking is such a basic thing and if you can’t enjoy it you’re missing out.”
 

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