Published: 11:55, 27 November 2018
| Updated: 12:03, 27 November 2018
The competition was tough at this year's Kent Young Chef Awards.
The eight finalists in the competition organised by Produced In Kent were invited to the West Kent College in Tonbridge to take part in a final live cook off.
The young Jamie Olivers, aged between 12 and 16, had to prepare and cook a main dish and a dessert in two hours using only seasonal and locally available ingredients and their efforts were assessed by a panel of six judges led by Graham Garrett, the chef/patron of the Michelin-starred restaurant West House in Biddenden.
They selected Cameron Jones from Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys as the winner of the senior contest, while Thomas Hunt from the Judd School in Tonbridge, was selected as the junior champion.
Mr Garrett said: “Four of the eight cooks chose game, which is seasonal in November, and six chose desserts that included apples or pears, again which is not only seasonal but one of several products that Kent is renowned for.
"This was good to see as one of the basics of creating a memorable menu is to look around and see what is in season.”
The senior winner, Cameron Jones, 14, presented a perfectly cooked roast loin of venison with butternut squash, Kentish Chanterelle mushrooms and roasted Trevisco lettuce.
His dessert was Kentish pear with home-made vanilla ice cream and rich chocolate sauce.
The junior winner, Thomas Hunt, 12, served venison wellington followed by a rhubarb creme brulee.
Judge Tony Blake from Kent-based, kff, who sponsored the contest, said: “Thomas was able to make his own puff pastry for his main course, which in the time allotted of two hours, shows a very high level of skill. In addition he then made a wonderful creme brulee, the fact that he is so young impressed all six judges.”
Stephanie Durling from Produced in Kent said: “All eight chefs seemed at ease and many were ready to present their dishes earlier than the two hours allowed. This showed how organised and methodical they were, especially considering the number of judges and media that were scrutinising their cooking.
"The judges had a difficult job to decide the winners, particularly in the senior category where there were a number of stand-out dishes.”
The other senior contestants were Charlotte Fife from Invicta Grammar School, Hamish McLay and Jem Major both from Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, Zavie Goutorbe from the Skinners School in Tunbridge Wells, and Elizabeth Glasson, from Maidstone Grammar School for Girls.
There was only one other finalist in junior section and she was Rebecca Louden, 13, from Maidstone Girls Grammar School.
Cameron Jones said: “I was really surprised when they announced my name, I really didn’t think I was in with a chance."
Thomas Hunt said: "I am delighted to have won, but actually taking part has been brilliant and now I just want to cook more.”
All the finalist were presented with a certificate and a professional chef’s knife.