FIONA GETS A TASTE OF THE ‘MASTERCHEF’ EXPERIENCE
Year 10 student Fiona Fletcher now has an idea of the pressures experienced by contestants in BBC TV’s popular MasterChef series after finishing fifth out of 6,500 entrants in the Rotary Young Chef of the Year competition.
Fiona, who studies Food Technology as one of her GCSE subjects, won three rounds of the 2015 Rotary Young Chef competition to qualify for the national finals, which took place in Wrexham on 25 April 2015. She secured her first victory representing the Rotary Clubs of Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted Bulbourne at the Dacorum Young Chef competition last November. She then went on to triumph over eight other local champions at the Beds, Herts and Bucks final in February. The East of England Regional final between eight district finalists followed two weeks later and once a gain Fiona’s culinary skills ensured she claimed one of only eight places in the Filippo Berio National Young Chef final. While Fiona explains that she is not yet sure if she wishes to pursue a career as a chef, she adds: “This experience has shown me that I can deal with the pressures of the job.” The toughest part of the competition, according to Fiona, was deciding on the menu, especially the main course: “I had to make sure the dishes had the right combination of flavours and that they were well presented.” Along with the other seven finalists, some of whom are studying full time to become chefs, Fiona had to plan her three-course menu, bring along the correctly measured ingredients and had two hours in which to prepare her dishes. “I was quite nervous,” says Fiona, “I didn’t know how good everyone else was going to be!” A fan of MasterChef, Fiona did point out that the contestants on the TV show appear to be a lot more nervous than she and her fellow finalists in the Young Chef of the Year. In recognition of her fantastic achievement, Mrs Kathryn Pickles, teacher in charge of Food Technology at Berkhamsted School, presented Fiona with Leiths Cookery Bible, with the words: ‘This has been my most valued source of inspiration in the kitchen so I hope you will use this book and enjoy the beginning of a new journey.’ Mrs Pickles describes Fiona as having natural cooking ability: “She’s focused, has a good sense of timing, is well organised and she doesn’t flap!” Head of Berkhamsted Girls, Mrs Liz Richardson, presented Fiona with the book, saying: “We are immensely proud of your achievement.”