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Haverhill students grab top two spots in Suffolk cooking competition

Samuel Ward Academy students Joel Ridgway and Holly Sentance, winner and runner-up, respectively in the Suffolk Young Cooks Competition.

Samuel Ward Academy students Joel Ridgway and Holly Sentance, winner and runner-up, respectively in the Suffolk Young Cooks Competition.

Students from Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill have won first and second place in a culinary challenge for Suffolk teenagers.

Joel Ridgway and Holly Sentance, both 14, made it to the final of the Suffolk Young Cooks Competition on Tuesday (Jan 14) night at Suffolk New College Ipswich.

The competition was open to teenagers aged 13-17 to find the county’s best young chef and Holly and Joel were two of the three finalists.

Joel, of Mill Hill in Haverhill, who is taking a catering GCSE, first got into cooking at home with his mum when aged six.

Having started out baking cakes he has now moved on to the main food for meals and has developed a real passion for cooking.

He said: “I get a sense of achievement at the end of it and generally enjoy cooking.”

The young cooks had to impress the judge Chris Lee, head chef of the Packhorse Inn in Moulton near Newmarket, with their dishes which were all made from a list of locally sourced ingredients.

Having already been selected as one of the three finalists, Joel impressed the judges most with his recipe for a deconstructed pork and chilli burger with a chilli sauce/salsa and homemade bread roll served with sweet potato wedges as his main course.

It was followed by a desert of apple fool with stewed apples, homemade custard and a meringue topping.

Having won, he said: “It was quite a surprise. I was the last to go (cooking in front of the judge). It was quite hard to go after them.”

Of the future, he added: “I would like to learn to cook in a more professional kitchen when I’m older.”

Panipak Koonnwarote, 17, from Royal Hospital School Holbrook, was third.

 

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