School children encouraged to learn new cooking skills

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By Christine Lavelle

SCHOOL kids in Edinburgh are being invited to compete to be the next generation of culinary masters, with the support of a successful Scottish chef.

Steven Adair, executive head chef of The Glasshouse off the Mile, is hoping to sign up schools in the capital to a nationwide culinary programme put on by FutureChef.

The programme aims to help youngsters aged 12-16 learn to cook, and Mr Adair says he is keen to get more Scottish school pupils get involved.

He said: “I’ve been involved with the competition for over eight years assisting young budding chefs at Liberton High School and it’s great to see so many kids excited about the event.

“It’s a fantastic way for young people to learn about cooking – everything from creating a recipe, to preparation, right the way through to the end product.

“I know only a handful of schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians take part and I think more should give their pupils the opportunity to compete in what is a nationwide competition.”

FutureChef – now in its tenth year – is a four-stage programme starting with a school heat which involves cooking a hot main course within an hour on a £4 budget.

In the local final, pupils have to prepare and cook a hot main course and hot or cold dessert for two on a budget of £6.

The winner of each local final goes on to compete in one of 12 regional finals leading to the national final in London.

Joyce Lochrie, home economics teacher at Liberton High School, said: “Steven has a vital role in this competition – everything from judging to talking to the kids about cooking.

“He judges them on a variety of skills and really takes time to sit down and talk to the pupils about what they like about cooking and their development.

“He’s a great asset to the school and it’s wonderful to see the pupils as enthusiastic as they are.”

Last year, more than 8,000 pupils across the UK signed up for the competition and this year organisers are aiming to make it even bigger.

Mr Adair, who grew up in Northfield, said: “I really would encourage schools to register as the benefits for both pupils and staff are really worth while.

“For me, personally, it’s about putting something back into the community as I know it can be difficult for some kids to really develop their cooking skills.”

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