A young chef from Swadlincote has won an award at the Derbyshire Student Chef of The Year competition held at The Dome, in Buxton.
Lauren Fee, 15, won the title of Best Presentation Table after she wowed judges with her Parisian-themed ratatouille and crepes.
The awards, organised by Derbyshire County Council’s school catering service, asks participants to use local produce that reflects cultural diversity and is suitable for 14-year-olds in school.
Meals had to be based on the ‘eat well guide’, so had to include good proteins, vegetables and vitamins.
Each contestant had to stick with a £2 budget to create their meal and dessert. Chefs had to cook two portions of each meal, one for the presentation table and one for the judges to taste.
Lauren had 30 minutes to prepare her station and one-and-a-half hours to cook. For a bargain price of 95p, Lauren, an aspiring patisserie chef, managed to whip up her delicious ratatouille and crepes.
Open to students from years nine to 11, the competition – now in its seventh year – was entered by 12 students from six schools across the county on June 30.
Lauren was lucky enough to be chosen to compete by her head teacher at Pingle Academy along with one other student.
The teenager, who is hoping to land an apprenticeship when she finishes her GCSEs, said she was “shocked and very overwhelmed” when she found out she won the award for Best Presentation Table.
Lauren said: “Everyone won a certificate and a little trophy, but for the award I won, I got a big glass trophy. I just find cooking quite interesting, making different things is really fun."
The youngster said her passion for cooking stemmed from her creative family introducing her to food preparation from a young age.
Lauren, who will be entering her final year at school in September, has been encouraged to enter the Future Chef competition by her teachers.
The competition, held in London, inspires young people to cook by introducing them to industry skills and challenges and building confidence.