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Food Technology Students Wow The Judges

Trips & Visits Senior Sixth

On Thursday 5 May Sixth Formers Pippa Wollen, Eleri Clarke, Eleanor Revill and Katie Cupper travelled to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival at the Three Counties Show Ground accompanied by Mrs Turner, to cook off against each other in front of the professional judges on the main stage in the Kitchen Garden Theatre.  The Malvern St James girls were to create a main and a dessert in just one hour ready for judging.

First up were Pippa and Eleri with their Moroccan lamb tagine and raspberry and elderflower cheesecake hidden by a white chocolate dome.  They didn’t disappoint and presented the dishes beautifully, with all the judges commenting on flavour and their use of seasonal foods.  After a break of one hour where the celebrity chefs were on stage it was time for Katie and Eleanor to have their turn.  They were cooking sea bass on pesto and roasted vegetables, followed by a honey panna cotta with a rhubarb compote.  They wowed the judges with their cooking skills, team work and effective time management.  The judges were very impressed with the level of skill on show from both pairs and made a point of mentioning how they wouldn’t have dared do something as tricky as a panna cotta in a kitchen they had never cooked in before!

The girls were welcomed on stage and congratulated on their impressive dishes, especially working so well in a demonstration kitchen they hadn’t been in before. The judges announced that despite it being incredibly close, Pippa and Eleri had been declared as the winners.  All the girls were given a signed copy of Mark Diacono’s latest book and invited to spend a day at a cookery school. The girls had a fantastic day out and had certainly learnt what it was like to cook under pressure in a demonstration kitchen with questions coming from Mark Diacono on the microphone as they were cooking! 

Katie Jeynes-Cupper, Year 12 said “I thoroughly enjoyed cooking in the show and to meet Mary Berry, the real ‘Queen of cooking and baking’, was a once in a life time and incredible experience!  She was extremely captivating with her speeches and is truly as charming as she is perceived on the TV.  At the end of day, she presented us with a signed copy of her newest book ‘Fool proof Cooking’.

It was a wonderful experience cooking on the same stage as many other professional chefs and it was also delightful to cook with Mark Diacono on stage at the same time. He offered us invaluable advice about cooking, and helping us to find our way around the modern pop-up kitchen.

I am so grateful to Mrs Turner, our food Technology teacher, who has enabled me to improve my skills, have the opportunity to cook on the main stage and to meet some amazing professional down to earth chefs and celebrities!”

On Saturday 7 May MSJ was once again to be represented at the Show and this time joined by girls in Years 7 and 8 along with Mrs Turner and Mrs Newby.  Teagan Manning, Cicely Gallagher, Libby Wallace, Carrigan Seal and Georgia Hughes were presenting a cake to Mary Berry during her timeslot at the show. The girls had been given a brief to create a cake to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday; they knew that Mary would give them feedback and so weeks before they had been carefully planning and designing the cake. They chose to bake an orange drizzle as Nadiya from the Great British Bake Off had done, but they wanted a more decorative version.  So they chose to cover half with icing, red roses and a more formal pattern and on the other half have blue, red and white bunting with the 90 made out of candied orange peel. The girls were invited up on the stage and spoke about the part they had played in creating the cake.  Mary praised the cake and even took a slice!  She commented on how moist the sponge was and how lovely the orange flavour was; throughout her time on stage she kept nibbling at it, so it must have been good!  It was no mean feat to present a cake baked for a queen to the Queen of Baking.  Following Mary’s time on the main stage the girls were invited to have a private audience with Mary, where she sat with them and talked about what they had been doing and their shared passion for cooking and baking.  Mary signed the latest copy of her book for each of the cook off girls, writing their names inside to make it personal which was a lovely touch.

Once Mary Berry had been whisked away to her next appointment, the group sat back and took in the day’s events, reflecting on what a wonderful experience it had been for all involved.  Then there was nothing left to do but devour the cake, and yes, it was tremendous! Tegan Manning, Year 7 commented “Thank you so, so much for inviting me to be on the Mary Berry baking team.  It has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life and one that I will remember FOREVER!” 

The four sixth formers will be spending the day at Mark Diacono’s Cookery School and have also been invited to Eckington Manor to meet the team there. They will be getting good guidance as one of the team, Mark Stinchcombe, won Master Chef: The Professionals in 2015.


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