Bringing young chefs to the table

The finalists of the Norris and Bell Junior Chef’s Competition, Sabine Hislop, left, Alex Morgan and Katy Picard. Photo: John Borren.

Three young chefs have been battling it out during the school holidays to get their dish on the Norris and Bell menu this Saturday.

The Norris and Bell Junior Chef Competition called on kids from all over the Bay of Plenty, aged eight to 13 years old, to put together their best recipe and post it on social media.

The three finalists, carefully picked out of 24 entries, will be cooking for a panel of five judges this week in the Norris and Bell restaurant kitchen on The Strand.

The winner will not only have their dish on the menu from July 24, but they’ll have the opportunity to join the team as a volunteer on the night.

They will also receive their name engraved on a chef’s knife and $300 worth of vouchers to enjoy with friends and family.

Norris and Bell chef Daniel Lee says the competition was a way to do something for the community.

“Our aim was to get families to come together through something as simple as food,” he says.

“It was to get children to learn about food; to see where it comes from, what other foods are out there and not just what sits in front of them on their plates.

“But mostly, it’s not just a competition, it’s more about the experience and doing something fun during the school holidays.”

Welcome Bay Primary School student Alex Morgan, 10, says he’s been cooking since he was about four.

Although Alex wants to be a Black Caps cricketer when he is older, he also enjoys cooking with his family, especially when he’s making pasta.

For Alex’s entry, he created deconstructed lamb meatballs, which he says were really fun to make.

“I’m quite excited for the competition but also nervous,” says Alex.

Pahoia School student Katy Picard’s game plan for the cook off is not to rush and to follow her steps carefully.

The 10 year old, who loves to bake desserts, created a lemon meringue pie with homemade ice-cream as her entry, but her final dish is being kept a secret.

The youngest competitor of the competition is nine-year-old Sabine Hislop, who attends Ōmokoroa Number One School.

She also made a meringue pie, but hers was filled with cream and dried raspberries for her entry.

Sabine says her favorite thing to make is anything sweet.

“I’m excited but nervous for the final,” she says.


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