Willow too hot for opposition in Brunts’ Masterchef competition

The winning Willow team in Brunts Academy's Masterchef competition.
The winning Willow team in Brunts Academy's Masterchef competition.

Budding cooks at a Mansfield school have fried, baked and scrambled their way through a gruelling three-week long Masterchef-style competition.

Under the watchful eye of judge Greg Sheridan, head chef at The Lindhurst Rooms at Mansfield Civic Centre, teams of pupils and staff from The Brunts Academy followed in the footsteps of one of TV’s most popular cookery shows.

Each week, the four teams - named Maple, Rowan, Willow and Oak after the school’s houses - competed to see whose starters, main courses and desserts most impressed Greg, who has cooked at venues including Buckingham Palace and Ascot Racecourse and won numerous awards during his 25-year career.

Each team in the competition, which is in its third year, consisted of three pairs of cooks, each pair tasked with providing a two course meal.

After each round, a team was then eliminated leaving finalists Willow and Oak in a tense, head to head cook off – with Willow clinching The Brunts Academy Masterchef 2014 title.

“The standard really was exceptional throughout and I couldn’t fault the professionalism of the cooks, many of whom were just 13 years old, or their concentration and work ethic,” said Greg.

“They all put every ounce of effort and creativity they had into the competition.

“Willow performed consistently well with superb flavours and techniques, although the Oak team also showed exceptional skill, with a menu which paid tribute to British classics, such as pork chops and Victoria sponge, along with more exotic dishes, such as teriyaki chicken.”

Martin Heartfield, deputy headteacher at Brunts added: “Greg’s been hugely supportive and his enthusiasm, not to mention his skills and experience, has really influenced our pupils and staff alike.”