Young chefs serve up a treat in Reg’s memory


Young chefs from across Lancashire have been testing their culinary skills in the regional heats of the Reg Johnson Young Chef Schools Competition, held in the purpose built training kitchens at Blackburn College. 

Thirty-one Year 8 and 9 pupils from across Lancashire made it through to the regional heats by designing innovative, individual dishes that celebrated fresh local ingredients.

Judged by acclaimed TV chefs Nigel Haworth and Paul Heathcote MBE, the students were given two hours to create two plates of their chosen recipe.

Nigel Haworth said: “We have been absolutely delighted with the standard of dishes produced. Each pupil had really thought about the design, presentation and timing of their chosen dishes and it was a pleasure to see such passion for cooking in pupils so young.

“This is the perfect age to stimulate an interest in food, educating pupils of the fantastic career path and opportunities available within the Catering and Hospitality industry.”

Paul Heathcote MBE said: “Reg was a great friend of ours and he would have been so proud of this competition and the enthusiasm demonstrated by the pupils. He was very passionate about encouraging young chefs to enter the Catering and Hospitality industry and having Reg’s daughter and grandson here has made the event even more special.”

Reg Johnson’s daughter Kara Johnson attended the regional heats with her nephew and Reg’s grandson Alex.

Kara said: “It has been very emotional for us to be part of this competition and I know that my Dad would have been so proud of what has been achieved. It’s wonderful that his legacy is being continued and I can’t wait to see how to competition develops further.”

Paul Sharples, Industry Links Manager at Blackburn College said: “We were thrilled to be able to host the competition and witness such a high standard of cooking across the three regional heats.

“The finalists are Matthew Marriott from Haslingden High School; Nabil Hamza and Wassem Iqbal from Blackburn Central High School; Aaishia Abdulgani and Saira Surgeon from Pleckgate High School; Meagan Shovelton and Amelia Litherland from St Christopher's; Oscar Simpson, Daisy Sanderson, Grace Simpson, Lizzie Brindle-Wilkinson and Hazel Thompson from Bowland High School.

“Thank you to our partners supporting this competition; Johnson and Swarbrick; Northcote; Heathcote and Co; Hive Business School; Lancashire Enterprise Adviser Network; The National Festival of Making; Ribble Farm Fare; Future U; Sousvide Tools.”

“We are really looking forward to welcoming the finalists back to Blackburn College on the 1st May for the final round. The winning dish will then be produced and on sale at the National Festival of Making on the 12th and 13th May 2018.



20 Apr 2018, 10:30 AM

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