A Bearsden youngster has been crowned 2017 UK “Young Chef of the Year” by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.
Tabitha Steven (13), a second year pupil at The High School of Glasgow, is the youngest pupil to be awarded the UK Young Chef title and she wins the top prize of a study visit to the Italian Cookery School in Tuscany.
She “wowed” the judges in the finals at Lincoln College at the weekend with her three-course meal.
Tabitha’s meal started with new season asparagus soup, followed by the main course of pan-fried sea bass with courgetti and tomato and basil sauce, and a dessert of vanilla panna cotta with summer berries and baked crumb.
The judges, which included Michelin star chef Danny Gill from BBC TV’s Great British Menu, said that Tabitha’s asparagus soup was “amazing” and her sea bass was “so cooked to perfection” that it could be served up in any top restaurant.
Tabitha, who has been cooking with her dad since she was seven, said: “I was so shocked to win but I was delighted with the judges comments.
“I was so nervous at the start of the finals with seven others finalists, mostly older than me. It was quite tense with only two hours to cook our meal for two people from start to finish, using fresh ingredients costing no more than £15.
“I love experimenting with food, cooking with seasonal ingredients and trying out different ways of presenting food, but most of all I love tasting food
“I have got where I am today thanks to the support from my dad, mum, grandparents, and my teacher Mrs Sellar and some great quirky recipes.”
Tabitha won her place in the UK Young Chef finals after coming top young chef in both the West of Scotland regional and Scotland national rounds of the competition for students in full time education aged 17 years or under.
Jen Sellar, food technology teacher was Tabitha’s mentor for the Young Chef competition and she was with her and her parents at Lincoln for the finals at the weekend.
Mrs Sellar said: “I am so proud of Tabitha.
“It has been truly inspiring to see her commitment and enthusiasm at all stages of the Rotary Young Chef competition.
“Despite the pressures, she was always able to hold her nerve and produce some great tasting dishes.”
Tabitha is studying hospitality along with her other eight subjects and hopes to open a patisserie when she is older.