The Rosemary Shrager Challenge

Young People on Talent Match from Kent, Essex and East Sussex along with Specialist mentors from CXK and Southend YMCA, a Volunteer mentor from Prince’s Trust and the Employer and Skills Network (ESN) attended a day with the professional Chefs at the Rosemary Shrager School.

The day included an inspirational talk from the professional chef and television personality Rosemary Shrager on the role of a chef and the opportunities a qualified and experienced chef can achieve.  She set the scene beautifully and inspired all the young people and mentors as to how they can meet their potential.

The challenge was to prepare 2 meals in the professional kitchens; a main course and dessert from several ingredients provided. Ian, the professional chef, led the demonstration at the Gallery Kitchen and prolific notes were taken by all to ensure the recipes were followed. The main course was to be either a chicken or vegetarian Korma and a dessert of choice from a table of selected produce.

During the allocated hour and a half of hectic cooking with support from the professional chefs and the school’s apprentice chef, everyone was supported to achieve their potential and exceed this in many cases. The standards were very high and the confidence was even higher – the dishes were to be judged by Rosemary and head chef Ian.

Finally, after the allocated cooking time, the dishes were plated and presented for judging – the criteria were: taste, texture and presentation. Both Rosemary and Ian worked through the dishes marking and deciding on the winning team, while all the teams sat to share and eat their finished meals – everyone tasted each other’s and the atmosphere was still electric in anticipation.

Results were in and everyone, all 16 potential chefs, prepared for the feedback and results – nail biting stuff and just like they do on the TV programme.

As the standard was so high, both Rosemary and the team of chefs found it difficult to identify just one team, it was agreed that there would be one overall winning team with 2 additional prizes for the amazing desserts produced. Both Rosemary and Ian had not seen such a high standard of taste, creativity and presentation of food from young people.

The winners:

Overall winner of the day:

Ana (YP) and Mark SYMCA mentor (team Essex) (highest marks for best main and dessert)

Best Desserts – presentation and standard:

Richard (YP, Kent) and Georgia (TMYP Kent)

Amy (YP, Kent) and Louise (Specialist Mentor CXK Kent)

“It was great and fun”

“Would recommend this to everyone, great day, bought my confidence up and had fun as well”

“Everyone was nice and helpful, had a really good day”

“I was able to handle pressure better than I thought I could. I really loved the day and overall experience, has really helped me to believe in myself more and to keep pushing forward”

“I honestly didn’t know what to expect, I enjoyed myself immensely.  The whole team of chefs were wonderful;  they were really helpful and knowledgeable.  My feedback on the task is that it has made me reconsider a hospitality career, thank you”

Comments from Young People

After judging and prize giving, the young people learnt how to make pasta dishes – they made and cooked Ravioli, Tortellini and Mezzaluna. They also had the opportunity to hand make chocolate truffles while the more adventurous had to identify the types of herbs and vegetables. The day concluded with short interviews with the training and Apprenticeship team where feedback was given and further work and training opportunities identified.

“One of the best experiences I have enjoyed”
Amanda Thompson PT Volunteer mentor

“Really enjoyed the day, great to relax and get to do something different with the young lady I mentor.      I would like to say a huge thank you to KATO (particularly, Penny) for organising such a fantastic day at the Rosemary Shrager Cooking School. Rosemary was amazing with our Talent Match young people and showed such enthusiasm and support to them that I was bowled over. All our young people came away smiling, with renewed confidence and extremely tired after a long but fun day. Again, KATO, a HUGE thank you.”
Louise Huckstep Specialist Mentor CXK

Comments from Mentors

The outcomes from the day were:

2 young people (PT, Kent) and 2 YP (PT, East Sussex) have been offered additional one-day work experience in the Patisserie and Kitchen

1 young person (PT, Kent) potential Apprenticeship offered

Additional opportunities in Essex will be followed up for the young people based there.

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