FOR the first time a Strathaven Academy pupil has taken part in a cookery competition organise by Rotary International.
Third year pupil Kyle McCutcheon competed against eight other entrants from throughout the country in the area heat of the Rotary District 1230 competition which took place at South Lanarkshire College in East Kilbride.
Kyle has taken part in cookery competitions before and was therefore able to cope with the demands of this latest challenge
He had to plan and cook a three-course meal for two people costing under £15, and also set a table complete with napkins and table decoration.
Kyle had 30 minutes to prepare and two hours to cook his meal in front of four judges, which he admitted was quite a task
Speaking of his experience Kyle said: “The experience of the cooking competition was amazing.
“The best part of it was feeling I achieved a lot more than just cooking. I had to set the table properly, with centre decoration.
“I had to learn napkin folding and be able to present a nice table for two people.
“The main part of the competition was cooking a three-course meal for two people within a tight time limit and a strict budget.”
Kyle added: “There were four judges who constantly talked to us and watched what we were doing.
“ It was great when they said ‘that smells good’ or ‘that looks great – great presentation’.
“My menu was pan fried scallops with black pudding on a bed of lemon coriander spinach with an apple sauce, followed by seared duck breast, wild rice, with grape and spring onion, and savoy cabbage, with an orange and balsamic dressing. For dessert, I made a white chocolate cup, with a dark chocolate mousse and a strawberry coulis.
“For me the highlight of the competition was when the head judge and chef came to me when we were clearing down. He shook my hand and said he saw a lot of potential in my cooking. When he looked at my menu he though it was very technical.
“I will definitely continue cooking and try again next year.”