A Driffield farming family is sowing the seeds to help find the next generation of Gordon Ramsays and Jamie Olivers.
JSR Farms Ltd, based at Southburn, has for the second-year running found a cooking star of the future through its Golden Apron Competition, in partnership with Michelin-star chef James Mackenzie.
The competition, which was open to more than 350 schools and colleges across Yorkshire, was won by 14-year-old Georgie Smithson-Brown, from Hornsea, who was taught to cook by her grandma.
Year nine pupil Georgie had to drop out of a part in her school play to attend the final where she found herself on a bigger stage - cooking a Mackerel Three Ways starter for 75 guests under the spotlight of the media.
And not only that but she was in charge of a team of chefs at James’ award-winning restaurant, The Pipe and Glass, at South Dalton, near Beverley.
JSR chairman Tim Rymer said: “We’re so impressed by Georgie – she was the youngest and least experienced chef in the final, but her starter was unbelievably good.”
To enter the competition, pupils aged between 14 and 19 were invited to submit a recipe using locally-sourced pork and working within a budget of £10 for two servings.
A total of 16 youngsters were chosen to attend heats and semi-finals which took place at The Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School, also run by JSR Farms, at Southburn.
Tim’s wife Zoe said: “This was all about encouraging kids who are wanting to have a look at the industry. The kids who were chosen were from all backgrounds, but the thing they had in common was that they all worked really hard. To get through they needed to be creative, have a good palate and do a good twist on a dish.”
Also in the final were Jake Fawcett, 18, from Wakefield, who cooked a main course of roast loin of East yorkshire-reared pork, and Oliver Robinson, 15, from Otley, who cooked a dessert which included Yorkshire forced rhubarb.
James said: “When you see the whites of their parents’ eyes staring at you that’s the worst bit, but when you see the delight in the winner’s eyes that’s the best bit.
“It would be great if we could inspire them into being the next Gordon Ramsays or Jamie Olivers or James Mackenzies!”
Georgie’s prize includes mentoring by James as well as vouchers and cookery books.
She also wins a work placement with food producer Cranswick plc, who sponsored the event, where she’ll be working in a team helping to develop products for the competition’s other main sponsor - Sainsbury’s.
Georgie said: “I’m speechless, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think I’d even get through to this stage, I just wanted to have a go!”
Meanwhile, the cookery school at Southburn, which has a nine-bedroom bed and breakfast attached, is attracting students from as far afield as Australia and the USA.
Among other skills and techniques, the schools teaches pupils how to cook Yorkshire favourites including East Yorkshire crab soup, fine fettle and pearl barley salad, and carrot cake roulade.