Nova trio reach national cookery final
It is a fantastic accolade to reach the finals of the Teflon Diamond Standard Awards so it was a particular thrill to learn that three students from Nova Hreod Academy had been selected.
It was a very early start for the journey to London. The snow was evident at various stages on the train journey but we arrived in London to a very cold, but fresh sunny morning. It wasn’t long before we were safely set down at our destination, laden with equipment and ingredients. The competition takes place at the Waitrose Cookery School in London, one of the top establishments in the country, and the prize was a scholarship at the school. To have three contestants in one final was a minor miracle in itself. The girls had produced very professional entries and their written personal statements added weight to the selection process.
The finalists were issued with their uniforms (made to measure) and lined up for the first photo opportunity of the day. We were very quickly joined by ‘celebrity chef’ Lesley Waters, who was also one of the judges.
The girls settled into their workstations and double checked that everything was in place before certificates were presented. This was good planning which helped alleviate any ‘pre- competition’ nerves. All contestants then had a quick health and safety briefing before the onset of the much anticipated competition.
It was then ‘heads down’ and ‘each to their own’ for the next 90 minutes. The audience were able to observe the action from behind a large glass partition, although the finalists were all very focused and would not have noticed any observers anyway.
The first dish up was Lizzie’s and everyone else followed in reasonably quick succession - and all within the allotted time. It was pleasing to see that all contestants had produced excellent dishes and not allowed any nerves to get the better of them. The contestants had to deliver two servings - one went to the table for the photographer and guests - the other went behind closed doors to the judges table.
When the judging was complete, we were treated to a ‘live’ food demonstration in the theatre: two delicious dishes of grilled pineapple, smoked chicken and salsa; and coconut and cardamom meringues with lime Chantilly cream and fruit salad. Lesley Waters was ably assisted by Nova's Julia and Lizzie.
Then came the big announcement and presentation to the winners. We were very excited and pleased to have Abby and Lizzie declared joint runners up. The event culminated in more photographs and a delicious buffet lunch before starting the return journey. Exhausted but satisfied - it was an excellent, well run event with very generous sponsors. Thanks to all of those involved in the competition. It is certainly an event that we will hope to compete in again next year.
All three girls can be very proud of themselves for the standard of their food and their professionalism during the final. We certainly are.
Recipes below by Lizzie, Julia & Abby.