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WLC Hosts Springboard FutureChef Regional Finals

The Regional Finals of the prestigious Springboard FutureChef competition, now in its 25th year, were proudly hosted by West London College earlier this month. The South-East Final and the London Regional Final showcased the immense culinary talents of young chefs from across the UK. Pippa Cooper won the South-East Regional Final for the second year running, and Reese Ventura won in the London Regional Final. Both young chefs will go through to compete at the national final, which will be held on 18 March in central London.

Reese, centre, with judges Sandi Richmond and Kuljit Singh
Reese, centre, with judges Sandi Richmond and Kuljit Singh

Denise Charles, Head of Service Industries, said: “West London College is committed to supporting the young talent coming through in hospitality, which is why we are delighted to host the Springboard FutureChef competition.”

All of the participants crafted exquisite dishes, each highlighting their creativity, skill, and culinary flair. 

The London Regional finalists were:

  • Sidrah Bhola from Graveney School, made a Chicken Pathia accompanied by Puffed Rice and Lime, Fennel Basmati, and Homemade Roti. For dessert, an Almond and Cardamom Cake with White Chocolate and Raspberries.
  • Tayvon Ottway-Foster from Newlands Academy, presented a Deep Fried Chicken with Mac & Cheese, BBQ Sauce, and Caribbean Mango Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce.
  • Phoebe Williamson from Eltham Hill School, impressed the judges with a Chicken Ballotine paired with Tender-stem Broccoli, Sweet Potato Mash, and a Red Wine Reduction. For dessert, an Apple Tarte Tatin with Crème Anglaise.
  • Alaana Nazrin from Skinners Academy, made a Dual Layered Steamed Paratha Puttu with Kachumber Salad, Coconut and Green Cardamom Cream, Mango Salad, and a Pistachio Sponge.
  • Anjola Olubode from Riverside School, offered a Jamaican Brown Chicken Tew accompanied by Steamed Rice, Plantain Chips, and a Brandy Snap Basket with Cream Cheese Filling and Lemon Custard Sauce. Raspberries added a finishing touch.
  • Armaan Mhatey from Marshalls Park, presented a Moroccan Young Lamb Tagine with Chickpea and Mint Panisse, Spiced Prunes and Apricots, and a ‘Jawhara’ Almond Custard Mille Feuille with Toasted Sesame and Almonds, and Candied Rose Petals.
  • Reese Ventura from St Philomena who emerged victorious in the round, produced a Deconstructed Bibimbap featuring a Crispy Poached Egg and Yuzu Wasabi Sauce. For dessert, a Cheesecake with Chocolate Bonsai, Raspberry Jelly, and Seasonal Berries.

Franky Fernandes, Executive Chef Marriott Park Lane is the mentor for Reese. The London judges were Sandi Richmond, Executive Chef Nobu Hotel Shoreditch and Kuljit Singh, Executive Chef, Marriott Marble Arch.

The talented South-East Regional finalists were:

  • Sophie Beck from Havant and South Downs College, presented an Open Fish Pie with Warm Tartare Sauce and a Chocolate Chip and Orange Mousse with Meringue.
  • Etty Toward from The Gregg School, tantalised taste buds with a Salisbury Rump of Lamb accompanied by Mint Salsa, Thyme Roasted Carrots, Fondant Potatoes, and a Rich Red Wine Jus. For dessert, an Apple Tarte Tatin with Rich Crème Anglaise.
  • Matilda Spink from Gordons School, offered a Butternut & Ricotta Tortellini with Roquette Pesto & Parmesan, followed by a Glazed Lemon Tart with Raspberries & Raspberry Coulis.
  • Elina Siviter from Faringdon Community School, created a classic Lasagna followed by Profiteroles.
  • Oliver Buys from Knole Academy, presented a Chicken Duxelles with Mash Potato, Leeks and Cream Sauce, paired with a Plum Mille-feuille.
  • Tilly Spicer from Chiltern Hills Academy, wowed the judges with Torched, Butter Poached Cod accompanied by Olive Oil and Lime Crushed Potatoes, Pickled Shallot, Wilted Spinach, and Mussels in White Wine Sauce. For dessert, a Dark Chocolate Fondant with Raspberry Sorbet and Chocolate Soil.
  • Tayte Fahey from Claires Court, created a Sticky Chicken, Coconut Rice, Garlic Pak Choi and Broccoli, and a Lemon and Ginger Posset with Ginger Shortbread.
  • Pippa Cooper from Priory School, Lewes, who won in her heat with her Free Range Sous Vide Chicken Breast & Braised Thigh Beetroot Mascarpone Tortellini, Butternut Squash Fondant, Chicken Brood, and a Rose Apple and Coco Tart filled with Apple Cinnamon Compote, Vanilla Chantilly.

Reflecting on her win, Pippa said: “I wasn’t sure if I would be going to win because the competition was so tough this year, but I loved the experience and I’m looking forward to doing my best at the national final.”

Alec Mackins, Head chef at Nutfield Priory & Spa is the mentor for Pippa. Judges for the SE Final were: Kevin Love, Executive Chef, Travel – BaxterStorey, Darren Passmore, Culinary Lead London/South East – Eurest/Compass, Paul Lawman, Head of Food & Beverage – Trafalgar Theatres, Lalit Kumar, Executive Chef – IHG and Catrin Manning, FutureChef Winner 2018

The competition is supported by leading industry names including Savoy Educational Trust, Hilton, Sodexo, Worshipful Company of Cooks, CH&CO, BaxterStorey, Compass and Nestle. 

The 25th-anniversary celebrations promise to be a remarkable milestone for the Springboard FutureChef competition, reflecting on the profound impact it has had on the culinary world and the bright prospects it continues to offer for future generations of chefs.

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