Young bakers’ cakes are fit for a Queen

Budding bakers from across the region were crowned winners in a hotly contested schools challenge laid down by Reaseheath’s food department.

Just ten entries from a total of 120 made it through to the final of Reaseheath’s Year 9 Schools Bake Off Competition, which was held in our specialist Food Centre last week. Contestants had to bake a cake or pastry with a royal theme.

The judging panel, made up of professional chef Brian Mellor, Cheshire WI judge Mary Hignett and Peter Wright, Chairman of sponsors the Wrights Pies Food Group, were looking for originality, presentation and taste.

The competition attracted entries from 45 secondary schools in five counties. Teams of our food technologists selected the finalists after visiting schools throughout Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Wirral and mid Wales to view and taste the cakes and to test the knowledge of the young bakers. These contestants had already won through from a first round consisting of a mood board with photos of the finished product.

Winner Charlotte Parton with her entry ‘Fit for a Queen’

Winner Charlotte Parton with her entry ‘Fit for a Queen’

Overall winner was Charlotte Parton, 13, from the Grove School, Market Drayton, who won a £100 cash prize plus two iPads for her school. Charlotte’s entry ‘Fit for a Queen’, was a Victoria sponge decorated with hand crafted butter biscuits shaped like soldiers and topped with a sugar crown. Second place went to a coconut and cherry cake made by Megan Glover and Louise Brown from Stockport School and third was a sponge decorated with roses made by Sam Platt and Lily Peachment from Cransley School, Northwich.

Stockport School’s Megan Glover and Louise Brown with their coconut crown

Stockport School’s Megan Glover and Louise Brown with their coconut crown

Other finalists were Charlotte Hesketh from Sandbach High School, Alex Thacker and Nicola Stockdale from Manchester High School for Girls, Izzy Burton and Anna Davies from The Marches School, Oswestry,  Elain Wyn and Elin Evans from Llanfyllin High School and Fiona Collins from Cheadle Hulme School.

Styled on the hit TV programme ‘The Great British Bake-Off’, Reaseheath’s competition was so popular that we plan to repeat it next year, this time with a savoury meat theme.

Mary Hignett said: “We have just witnessed the bakers of the future, all of whom have very good technical ability and excellent skills. Their cakes had wonderful textures and flavours. The standards were so high that it was very difficult for us to select the top three.  In our opinion, all the finalists were winners.

“Reaseheath’s food department should be congratulated on running such an inspired and exciting competition.”

Reaseheath Food Curriculum Manager Nick Blakemore, who led the project, said: “We were amazed at the pupils’ novel ideas. It was a very hard job to select the finalists because each entry had something to bring to the table. It was even harder to select the winners!”

Charlotte, a keen home baker, said: “I wanted to make my cake original and I tried out lots of ideas at home and at school. The competition was brilliant fun and I got great feedback from the judges. It’s made me even keener to look at food science as a career.”

You can find out more about our Patisserie and Bakery courses here.

Reaseheath bake-off competition hots up

Entries are streaming in for Reaseheath College’s Year 9 Schools Bake Off Competition.

The first heat of the cooking challenge is well under way, with teams of pupils from 42 secondary schools throughout Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Wirral and mid Wales making final touches to their tasty treats before submitting their ideas before the December 6 deadline. Kings Grove School, Crewe, and Sandbach High School are among local schools who are actively involved.

The schools can enter up to three teams of pupils which must produce a savoury or sweet cake or pastry with a Royal theme. The pupils must put forward their concept on a mood board, backed up by photos of the finished product. Their work will be judged by a panel of Reaseheath food technologists, with marks awarded for presentation and appearance.

The semi finalists will have to reproduce their product in school early in the New Year under the watchful eye of another Reaseheath panel. The finalists will be invited into the college’s specialist  Food Centre on March 20 to recreate their dishes once more in front of a panel of celebrity judges.

The winning team will receive £100 in cash plus two tablets pcs for their school. The second and third prizewinners will receive cash.

Julie Bent, Reaseheath’s Food Training and Communications Co-ordinator, explained: “We invited schools to take part in this challenge, partly because home baking has become so popular and partly to encourage pupils to look seriously at careers in the wider food industry. We’ve had an amazing response. Although many entries have come from food technology departments, in some cases pupils from the whole year have become involved.

“We’re looking forward to judging some amazing entries.”