Cooking competition for Cranleigh’s budding chefs

Top 3 - Lulu, Lex & Hebe SUS-150907-165248001

Top 3 - Lulu, Lex & Hebe SUS-150907-165248001

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After their four years of Food Tech, the day had dawned for Cranleigh Prep Year 8s to reveal the budding Nigellas and Gordons amongst them, as they all embarked on a Masterchef competition.

It was tense leading up to the opening round. The brief was to prepare a main meal of their own choice, recipes, ingredients and serving dishes being brought in from home. Each class worked together in a slight atmosphere of rising panic and it was definitely each man for himself as kitchen territory was staked out and equipment squirreled away!

Dishes were completed with not too many disasters along the way (despite Peter’s predictions!) and Mrs Brown tasted and marked a total of 59 dishes – no need for supper on those days! We had a whole range of interesting meals, from toasted sandwiches through to steak and chips, with a lot of salmon in between!

The field was whittled down to a semi-final of 13 contestants. This time, they were all given the same recipe and ingredients to make meatballs in tomato sauce with spaghetti, and instructed to present a meal for one. Unfortunately, as the recipe was for two, we had a lot of well stocked plates! It was an interesting exercise as they were allowed to adapt the recipe should they choose to do so. However it was the presentation that really began to identify the more creative amongst them. The judging by Mr McConnell Wood and Mrs Marriott also included a blind tasting. In the end it was not easy to choose a top three, hence five made it through to the final, the dreaded invention test.

A full table of ingredients was presented to the nervous five and they quickly planned and took what they required in order to cook a main course and pudding, Remember, this is without any recipes. Greg started well, preparing his dessert of lemon posset and getting it into the fridge. Lex had a couple of changes of heart but settled on burger and chips. He bravely attempted brownies but got quantities slightly wrong and had to make a last minute adjustment to fruit salad. Rosie slowly and carefully prepared a chicken wrapped in Parma ham dish whilst Lulu bustled her way through a chicken stir fry and made some commendable tropical fruit cupcakes.

The judges for this feast were Headmaster, Mr Wilson, Mrs Sharpe, herself a cordon bleu cook, and Mrs McNiven, Head of Art. They have over the years devised a very thorough grading exercise and the final total scores, over four categories, were extraordinarily close. Indeed two points between first and third positions. The final line up was 5th place – Greg, 4th place – Rosie, 3rd place –, 2nd place – Lex and triumphant in 1st position, and CPS Masterchef 2015 was Lulu. It was a brilliant competition and probably the hardest fought the School can remember. Well done to all and keep cooking!

Report and pictures contributed by Cranleigh Prep School.