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createandcookYoung cooks aged 12-14 years are being urged to enter the 2015 Create and Cook competition and repeat the success of 2014 champions Joe Doncaster and Alice Hyde from Sandown Bay Academy.

Run by fit2cook food education and sponsored by The Southern Co—operative, this hotly contested cookery challenge between young cooks from the Isle of Wight, Hampshire and Sussex celebrates local food and nurtures young talent. Entrants are tasked with designing and cooking a two course menu using ingredients sourced from the Island.

2014 competition winners, Joe Doncaster and Alice Hyde from Sandown Bay Academy, wowed judges – including BBC Masterchef: The Professionals Champion Steven Edwards – with their menu of Mr McGregor’s wild rabbit pie followed by strawberry cheesecake.

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Top Island chef and judge for the 2014 Isle of Wight heat, Ben Cooke from Little Gloster, commented about the standard of cooking in the competition:

“All the finalists had planned and researched their menus so well but at the end of the day it was Joe and Alice’s dishes that impressed me the most. They cooked a meal I would happily eat in a restaurant; pretty impressive for 14 year olds!”

Regional final judge and Chef/Director of Etch Food, Steven Edwards (pictured with Joe and Alice) awarded 2014 competition champions Joe and Alice £1000 for their school food technology department and the fit2cook pestle and mortar trophy.  As a competition winner himself, Steve is a great believer in competitions helping to develop culinary talent. He said:

“The Create and Cook competition is not just about cooking but being involved with the food journey from field to plate. As a judge, I am looking for cooks who demonstrate this understanding as well as using technique to get the most from their chosen ingredients.”

Min Raisman from fit2cook said:

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“With  such an amazing array of local produce on the Island and the wide availability of this in The Southern Co-operative’s Local Flavour range in their Island stores, isle of Wight has a strong chance to retain the Create and Cook title. So, young cooks, get working on your entries and enter through your school food technology department to start a new culinary adventure!”

Entries, which can be made via pupils’ own school food technology department, must be received by 20th March 2015.

The 2015 Create and Cook Competition is sponsored by The Southern Co-operative and supported on the Island by Wightlink and the Cookery School at the Isle of Wight College. The partnership between The Southern Co-operative and fit2cook food education, which has led to the success of the Create and Cook Competition, was highly commended by Business in the Community (BITC) at its Responsible Business Awards. BITC recognised the competition’s goal to build strong local food communities by linking schools with top local chefs, food producers and retailers and its work to educate the next generation of cooks about food provenance, sustainability, food miles and the importance of buying local food.

Keep an eye out on the Island Echo Facebook page for both Joe’s and Alice’s recipes.

For more information about the 2015 competition, go to

Photographed L-R: Alice Hyde, Steven Edwards and Joe Doncaster

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