On Wednesday 29th March, Fellow Rotarians, Corin Whymark and Nick Wilkinson organised with Steve Deal the Group Commercial Catering Manager at South Essex College, a spin-off of Rotary’s Young Chef competition called ‘Young Chef Workshop’.  
Twelve students from three Thurrock Secondary Schools attended the College and were asked to cook a three-course meal.  This was Rotary Young Chef with a twist because, Thurrock’s answer to Jamie Oliver, Chef Steve Deal, showed the teams how to cook the three dishes – Eggs Florentine; Chicken & Asparagus Risotto and Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake - at the college’s excellently equipped student kitchens in the Grays Campus.   Steve’s dishes were then displayed in the kitchen and off the young chefs went to their individual workstations to prepare and cook their own submissions.  The kitchen was a hive of activity with Steve floating around offering the benefit of his culinary skills.  All the students did exceptionally well and then came the judging.  The poor judges, Steve and Corin, tasted 36 dishes and wrote detailed feedback sheets for each competitor.  Steve also gave individual appraisals which everyone enjoyed.  
At the end of the competition, all competitors were given a certificate of participation and a goody bag from the College.  Steve announced the winner as Finley Chilvers from The Gateway Academy and he received the winner’s Young Chef trophy, an Amazon voucher and a cookery book from the Club’s President, Clive Page.  
The club would like to thank all the competitors and their teachers for making the day an educational and fun event.    One of the teachers who attended said, “All the students worked extremely hard and produced some great dishes and had the experience of working with Steve who was amazing, it was lovely being part of the day.” What more can you say, apart from again thanking South Essex College and its head chef Steve Deal for the use of the fantastic facilities, expertise and materials for the event and for agreeing to run the competition again next year.  As for the competitors, you can see where the celebrity chefs of tomorrow are produced