THEY’RE used to cooking for their friends and family at home.
Now three professional cooking students from South Downs College, Waterlooville, have had their culinary skills put to the test.
Stuart Turner, David Wiggins and Mark Conroy were each issued with a challenge – produce a slap-up three-course dinner which could be recreated for a party with 100 guests.
The trio cooked their imaginative selection of dishes at HMS Warrior yesterday for five judges consisting of News food critic Carol Godsmark, Anna Hansen MBE, owner of London restaurant Modern Pantry, Rob McLeary, Ms Hansen’s head chef, Dave Humphreys, managing director of County Caterers and the ship’s captain Ken Jones.
The panel judged the dishes based on presentation, flavour, and whether they were suitable for a big occasion.
Afterwards the budding chefs were told which their best dishes were and presented with two sets of knives and The Little Paris Kitchen, which is a book about the career of English chef Rachel Khoo.
David Wiggins, 18, was delighted after the judges said they were blown away by his main course of sea bass served with anna potatoes, baby leeks, asparagus, crab salsa and a pea foam.
As a starter he did a salmon ring filled with poached salmon and horseradish mousse and for dessert he made a vanilla panna cotta.
David, who lives in Horndean, said: ‘My dishes were based on ones I did for a cookery competition for The Rotary Club of Havant.
‘I’ve wanted to be a chef since I was 10 years old.
‘Though this has been hard work and a lot of stress, the experience we’ve gained from it is fantastic.’
‘I cook a lot at home, probably about four to five times a week.
‘I love being creative and I’m a big seafood fan.’
Judges also selected Stuart’s wild mushroom tartlet starter and Mark’s rhubarb mousse cake as winners.
Ms Hansen said: ‘I was impressed by everyone’s presentation.
‘Some were quite adventurous and you could tell that they had thought a lot about what they were doing.’
The winning dishes will now be included in menus made by County Caterers for the next year.