Another all-female final reveals Best Young Chef in the Midlands

January 2019

University College Birmingham’s annual Young Chef of the Year competition, supported by Maple from Canada, culminated in an all-female final for the second year in a row, with 14-year-old Neve Doy coming out of the kitchen triumphant.

The eight contestants had 90 minutes to impress the judges, but it was Neve, from Ridgewood School, Stourbridge,that followed in the footsteps of reigning champion Jo Dainton, who landed a coveted apprenticeship after winning in 2018.

Boys and girls aged 14 to 16 entered the competition, but all the finalists were female, progressing to the last eight having impressed with their menus and technical skills at a semi-final in early December 2018.

Neve’s prize of a brand-new iPhone, £500 of cookery equipment for her school and a morning's work experience with Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell was awarded to her after she impressed the judges with her dishes. Her two courses were homemade Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Tomato and Maple sauce and Maple and Pecan Pie with Vanilla Parfait.

As part of her prize, Maple from Canada’s UK chef ambassador David Colcombe will also perform two special, maple cookery demonstrations at her school in 2019.

The panel of judges included David Colcombe, UK chef ambassador for Maple from Canada, Peter Griffiths of the British Culinary Federation, Chef Lecturer Gary Goldsmith and Dean of UCB’s College of Food Neil Rippington.

Chef Colcombe said: “How incredible is it to witness a new generation of young chefs entering the profession? Whether male or female, surely now the challenge is to ensure these talented, young people receive all the support they need to pursue careers in the hospitality industry. All the young chefs managed to use their maple products extremely well, the flavours they created were delicious.”

The competition, now in its third year, challenges students to cook a main course and a dessert, one of which must incorporate pure Canadian maple syrup.

Neve said of her win: “I’m really passionate about cooking and I worked really hard to prepare for the final. I didn’t expect to win at all, but I’m really pleased that all the hard work paid off and the judges liked my dishes.”

Neil Rippington, Dean of the College of Food at UCB, said: “Young Chef of the Year is an incredibly fun way to involve young people in practical cookery, but also to point them in the direction of careers within the hospitality industry.

“The prizes on offer for a competition of this scale are second-to-none and the standard of this year’s incredible and innovative dishes have certainly matched that.”

Libby Hughes, age 15, of St Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, Birmingham, was second and Millie Fellows, age 15, of Ridgewood School, Stourbridge, was third.

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