STUDENTS are gearing up to prove themselves to be the next Jamie Oliver.
Gennaro Contaldo – the Naked Chef’s mentor – and champion swimmer Katy Sexton launched an Olympic-themed Celebrity Chef Challenge at Jamie’s Italian in Gunwharf Quays.
Boys and girls listened attentively for top tips to give them the edge when they compete to make a meal ‘fit for an athlete’.
Katy, 29, from Cosham, who is weeks away from finding out whether she will win a place at this year’s games, suggested something high in protein and carbohydrates, but low in fat.
She said: ‘I’m looking forward to seeing what the students come up with!’
Gennaro, who says he is passionate about educating children about healthy food, added: ‘If the children put their hearts into it there’s no reason why we can’t have a Portsmouth Jamie Oliver.’
Only two teams will make it through the cook-offs at Highbury College – and go on to fight for first place in the grand finals at Gunwharf Quays on June 29.
Sophie Twilley, 13, from Purbrook Park School, is in it to win it.
She said: ‘After hearing what Katy had to say about an athlete’s diet, I think we’ll steer towards pasta.
‘We’re entering to win. There aren’t enough female chefs but that’s probably because industries like fashion are too tempting.
‘I love cooking because it’s fun and I’m so excited Jamie’s mentor will be mentoring us. I’d love to cook professionally. My strength is baking cakes.’
George Rolfe, 14, who attends Mayfield School in North End, said: ‘I’m quite nervous but really excited about the challenge.
‘I took the opportunity to ask Katy what meals she preferred and she said desserts over a starter.
‘It’s great to be working with a world-class chef and athlete – I just hope I live up to expectation.’
The challenge run by Portsmouth’s Education Business Partnership is supported by Sainsbury’s Farlington, Gunwharf Quays, Highbury College and Jamie’s.