Cookery student, Sasha, through to the National Finals!...

The South East Regional Final of the Rotary Young Chef competition took place at New City College, Redbridge, London last Saturday. The competition is designed to encourage young people between the age of 11 and 17 to develop food preparation skills, consider healthy eating options and prepare a menu within a set budget. On the day students were required to prepare a meal for two people.

Sasha, a student from the Gateway Academy, had entered the local competition which is held at South Essex College in Grays. The competition was open to all students in Thurrock (within the age range) for which she won. Representing her school, she then progressed to the Rotary District competition held in Chelmsford, which again she won and this led to the regional finals last Saturday.

To help her hone her skills, Mr Graeme Collie from South Essex College and her teacher, Miss Surraya Constable at the Gateway Academy were mentoring her. Sasha’s menu included for entrée; crispy prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella & blow torched figs, homemade focaccia, pea shoots, balsamic glaze and basil oil. For the main dish she prepared pan roasted suffolk pork, celeriac puree and parsnip crisps, honey roast vegetables, sprouts, red wine pan gravy and for dessert; chocolate & banana avocado mousse, raspberry coulis chocolate & pistachio soil, pistachio tuille and fresh raspberries.

Despite fierce competition, the judge announced that the winner was Sasha, who now moves onto the Rotary Young Chef National Final at Telford at the end of April.

Miss Surraya Constable, Food & Cookery teacher at the Gateway Academy, said “Sasha has been a keen cook since starting at the Gateway Academy. She shows confidence in all the foods that she prepares and cooks and will make a great chef one day. At each stage of the competition Sasha has always looked at how she can improve. She will strive until she is the best. It makes me very proud to be her teacher.”

Proud Dad, Mr Ben Martin, also commented “We are very proud of how far Sasha has come. She did well to compete last year and was very determined this year to improve and win. She has always had a love for baking and being creative. She never gives up.”

Nicholas Wilkinson, a Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock, said “The food prepared by Sasha was magnificent and I am delighted she won. I know everyone at the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock is wishing Sasha well when she goes to the national final.”

If anyone wishes to know more about the competition or contact the Rotary club of Grays Thurrock go to

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