Plucky Portsmouth pupils cooking up a storm in school

Jessica Norris and Marcy Lea, both 14, at last night's Create and Cook Bake Off at Portsmouth High School for Girls
Jessica Norris and Marcy Lea, both 14, at last night's Create and Cook Bake Off at Portsmouth High School for Girls
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  • Girls aim to prove they’re the city’s mini-Master Chefs in cookery competition
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PUPILS at a girls’ school in Portsmouth traded their uniforms for a chef’s aprons and oven gloves as they took to the kitchen to compete in a mini-Master Chef competition.

Twelve girls from Portsmouth High School spent yesterday afternoon feverishly cooking up their masterpieces in a bid to be one of six to reach the regional finals of the Create and Cook Bake Off.

They have all put their heart and soul into this. The girls really have gone above and beyond.

Wendy Craig, food tech teacher and competition organiser

Working in pairs, the youngsters from years eight and nine had just under two hours to create two courses.

With recipes ranging from stuffed breaded organic chicken to creamy courgette and lemon spaghetti with salmon, the competition was intense.

However, for some, the rivalry went far deeper – with cousins Hannah Woods and Jessica Medlow battling against one another for a coveted place in the heats.

Hannah, who turned 13 today, was preparing a complicated raspberry coulis while her partner Ruby Newport-Spiers created a pasta dish from scratch.

Hannah said: ‘It’s been really fun. We’ve all been preparing for it for a long time and practising our dishes.’

Jessica, who will also be celebrating her 13th birthday this week said she was determined to make it through to the regional heats with her cookery partner Alice Roberts, 12.

‘I find out if we’ve made it through on my birthday, so it would be the best birthday present ever if we made it through,’ added the Year 8 pupil.

The children were judged by Graham Bryant – a former Lieutenant Commander and chef in the Royal Navy.

Graham, who during his time in the navy oversaw meals for hundreds of sailors, said he was looking for organisation, skill and teamwork.

He said: ‘I always say cooking is like being a conductor in an orchestra; you have all these arrangements and elements that your have to bring together at the right time.

‘If the conductor brings in the string section at the wrong time it’s going to be a disaster. Similarly here, if one element or ingredient is brought in at the wrong time then the meal will be a disaster.’

Wendy Craig, who organised the event, said: ‘They have all put their heart and soul into this. The girls really have gone above and beyond. They’ve been quite nervous about it because they’ve put so much effort in.’

The competition is run by food education organisation Fit2cook.