Talented chef Phillippa heads for cook-off

Phillippa Crofts (15), from Bay House School who is a finalist in the Make It With Mince nationwide cooking competition. Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (123602-2)
Phillippa Crofts (15), from Bay House School who is a finalist in the Make It With Mince nationwide cooking competition. Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (123602-2)
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TALENTED Phillippa Croft from Gosport has been chosen by TV chef James Martin to compete in a regional cooking final.

Phillippa, 15, a Year 11 pupil at Bay House School, in Gomer Lane, made it to the next stage of the Make it with Mince competition, along with fellow Year 11 pupil Natasha Squibb, 15, to be held in Bristol next Tuesday.

They are among just 50 youngsters, aged 11 to 16, to be chosen from across the country by the Saturday Kitchen chef.

Phillippa was picked after wowing the chef when catering teacher Richard Bloxsom entered his entire GCSE catering class into the competition, sponsored by Red Tractor.

The pupils had to create a recipe using 200 grams of mince on a £10 budget, sending in a photo of their dish to be judged.

Phillippa said: ‘Mine is a bolognese tart on a bed of sauteed spinach with pesto, tomato and courgette fritters.

‘We sent off all our stuff and a few days ago my teacher emailed me saying I’d got into the final.

‘It’s really good. We’ve got to practice it a few times and go up. Hopefully it’ll be alright.’

She will take on other finalists at the cook-off, and if successful she will have the chance to be crowned national champion.

If she wins overall, she will head to London with the TV chef to watch Saturday Kitchen live and sample menus at the city’s best restaurants.

She has spent time in her GCSE catering class recreating the dish in an effort to perfect it, with Mr Bloxsom giving her advice.

But on the day, Phillippa’s work must pass the ultimate taste test, with James Martin himself passing judgment on her dish.

‘It’s still not perfect so I’ve got a couple more goes at it, then it’ll be the actual thing,’ she said.

‘I’ve always loved cooking, I love seeing what happens in the end and seeing if it works or if it doesn’t.

‘If he likes my food that would be amazing.’