Search is on for top young chefs

golden apron
golden apron

JSR, The Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School and Michelin Star Chef, James Mackenzie of The Pipe and Glass Inn, have teamed up to launch ‘The Golden Apron’, a cookery competition designed to find Yorkshire’s best young chef.

The competition is open to 14-19 year olds throughout Yorkshire and will give aspiring youngsters guidance in their cookery career whilst promoting the region’s finest produce.

Sponsored by food manufacturer, Cranswick, retailer, Sainsbury’s and farming group, JSR, the competition will see three industries unite to promote local, healthy food for students to work with.

The Golden Apron is the first competition of its kind in the area and will take place from the 3rd March – 29th April 2013, with students from over 350 schools and colleges invited to take part. The winner will be mentored by James Mackenzie to give them a taste of what it takes to become a professional chef.

In addition to a work placement at the Pipe and Glass, the winner will be given an internship at Cranswick Plc, which will include working on their Sainsbury’s account alongside the company’s Product Development team. They will also be presented with a golden apron and various other prizes. All finalists will receive a signed copy of James’ book ‘On the Menu’.

James Mackenzie said: “I’m extremely excited about the launch of The Golden Apron, it’s a fantastic opportunity for young cooks to show what they are made of. I already work closely with local schools so had been considering running a similar competition for a while. When I met with the JSR team and discussed the idea further, we decided to join forces to make it happen.

“Many chefs complain about the lack of young talent coming into the industry, so I’m keen to help give young people an opportunity to boost their CV, experience and confidence. We hope The Golden Apron will encourage and excite the next generation into choosing a career in cookery.

“We want The Golden Apron to appeal to a broad range of young people – not just those who already have a high level of skill. We will be looking for youngsters who have created dishes that are well-thought out, taste good, make use of seasonal produce, feature great flavours and look nice on the plate. The entrants will see their skills transform throughout the competition and I will mentor them through to the final, tweaking their dishes along the way. Hopefully this will be the first of many successful Golden Apron competitions to come.”

Tim Rymer, Chairman of JSR Farming Group said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting competition. We have been extremely busy with our courses at the Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School during our first two years. However, we would like to see more young people on our courses. This competition aims to encourage young people not only to enter but to enjoy learning new skills and with the ambition to win the Golden Apron. They have a chance of being mentored by a Michelin star chef, James Mackenzie and working in the Sainsbury’s product development team at Cranswick Plc in Hull. For any young person interested in cooking or becoming a chef this is a great platform to improve skills or launch a career.”

Bernard Hoggarth, of Cranswick and sponsor of The Golden Apron, said: “Cranswick, in conjunction with Sainsbury’s and JSR, have worked very closely over many years to produce the finest British Pork for Sainsbury’s consumers, under the Taste The Difference range.

“This collaboration is working again under the auspices of The Golden Apron competition for young, talented, ambitious and aspirational chefs. The winners will have the chance to work with the Cranswick and Sainsbury’s development teams in the future, leading to great employment opportunities to develop their talent further.”

To enter The Golden Apron, youngsters must create a dish using locally sourced pork as a core ingredient, working with a £10 budget for two servings. They must submit their recipe with a supporting image and fill in their application online at www.yorkshirewoldscookeryschool.co.uk. Entries will be broken down into two age groups (14-16 and 17-19) and judged on cost, appearance, originality, seasonality and use of local produce.

From the entries, 16 youngsters will be selected to join the first heat of judging at The Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School on the March 3. Following this, eight entrants will be invited to the semi-final on the March 24, from which three finalists will be chosen to receive mentoring and work experience with James Mackenzie. The grand final dinner will take place on April 29 at The Pipe and Glass Inn, South Dalton, where each finalist will cook a course for 80 guests who will vote for their favourite dish along with the judges.