FOUR aspiring young chefs showed they had the right ingredients for success when they took part in a national culinary competition.
Talented Ystrad Mynach Pathway to Apprenticeship Professional Cookery students Charlie Prosser and Cheryl Prosser (no relation), from Aberbargoed, Emma Bilkey, from Bargoed, and Daniel Jones, from Merthyr Tydfil, competed against budding chefs from across Wales at the annual Welsh International Culinary Championships.
The culinary skills of the 17-year-old students were as sharp as their kitchen knives as they competed in the prestigious competition at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru in Rhos-on-Sea, North Wales, and returned with a host of medals and certificates.
The four are all fulfilling their passion for food on the college’s professional cookery course and developing their skills and techniques in the state-of-the-art kitchen and restaurant on the Ystrad Mynach campus.
Charlie won a bronze medal in the knife skills cutting of vegetables section, and a certificate of merit in both the knife skills cutting of fruit and piping creamed mashed potatoes categories.
Cheryl won a certificate of merit in both the piping mashed potatoes and open bistro sandwich sections.
And Emma scooped bronze medals in the cutting of vegetables, cutting of fruit and the open bistro sandwich categories.
Catering lecturer and the students’ tutor Carol Jones said she was extremely proud of their achievements at the competition which is organised annually by the Welsh Culinary Association.
She said: “It was a great experience for them and they did really well. We are proud for the college and for the students.”
Emma, whose ambition is to work in the food industry abroad or on a cruise ship when she qualifies, said she was delighted to return home with three bronze medals.
She added: “We did a series of competitions throughout the day when we were given a set amount of time to accomplish each task. We put into practice what we have been learning at college.
“The judges were walking back and forth so it was a bit nerve-wracking.”
Emma first got interested in joining the cookery course after being inspired by dad Mark, who is a keen amateur cook at home.
“My dad likes cooking as a hobby and I thought I’d try it. I started it at college and really got into it,” said Emma. And she said dad Mark and mum Linda were proud of what she had achieved in the competition.
“They were chuffed to bits for me,” she said.
As well as honing their cookery skills in the classroom, the talented culinary quartet also spend one day a week working in the kitchens of hotels in Cardiff as part of their course.