Cooking duo keep it local

Emily Rose Wyatt and Amber Grout Smith, from Chichester High School for Girls
Emily Rose Wyatt and Amber Grout Smith, from Chichester High School for Girls

TWO BUDDING chefs from Chichester proved they certainly could stand the heat in the kitchen to be crowned the county’s top young creative cooks.

Emily Rose Wyatt and Amber Grout Smith, both 14, from Chichester High School for Girls, wowed the judges in the 2013 Create and Cook Competition.

Their tasty two-course menu saw them voted the top young cooks in West Sussex in the contest, which is run by fit2cook food education and sponsored by the Southern Co-operative.

Aiming to nurture young talent and celebrate local food, Create and Cook sees teams of two pupils, aged 12-14, design a two-course menu for two people using locally-sourced ingredients.

Emily and Amber came up with two mouth-watering dishes of Sussex sausage ragu with homemade pasta, and a chocolate and chilli tart with homemade ice cream. The judges were thrilled to see their dishes were stuffed full of local flavours, from Goodwood Farm dairy produce and Sussex Gold rapeseed oil to local eggs and Montezuma’s dark chocolate.

“It’s been really good, very exciting and good to have the chance to cook in a professional kitchen,” they said.

“We’ve learnt lots about local food and it’s been a really good experience. It will be good to add this to our CV.”

Although the girls won the county leg, the pair were pipped at the post by two boys from Robert May’s School in Odiham, Hampshire, who were crowned 2013 Create and Cook champions at the final cook-off last week at Newlyns Farm Cookery School near Hook.

“Each year the Create and Cook Competition judges are amazed by the high standard of entries and the genuine interest the young entrants have in local produce,” said Min Raisman of fit2cook food education, who organised the contest.

“Amber and Emily had really researched their local produce well and went to local farm shops to search it out. Their menu really did have fantastic local flavours.”

The West Sussex Create and Cook Competition is sponsored by the Southern Co-operative and supported by the Centre of Excellence for Regional Food and Drink at Brinsbury, Chichester College, South Lodge Hotel and West Sussex County Council.

Lucy Avison from the Southern Co-operative said it was important to spread the word about buying local produce.

“As a food retailer it is important we take responsibility for communicating key messages about food provenance and local sustainability – the Create and Cook Competition provides an excellent platform for educating the next generation about the importance of these issues.”

For the recipes see