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Cook It 2014 – Winners Announced

Nicola Graimes (19/06/2014)

Photographs © David Harrison / The Guild of Food Writers / Cook It

Cook It logo

Huge congratulations go to George Perry, age 14, from Milton Keynes and Lauren Black, age 12, from Berkshire, the amazingly talented winners of this year’s Guild of Food Writers Cook It - Young Cook of the Year - competition, sponsored by Gold Top, the brand name for Quality Milk Producers.

Photograph of Michael Jones from Gold Top and Lauren Black
Michael Jones from Gold Top and Lauren Black

Commenting on her win, Lauren said, ‘The competition has been inspirational because it made me learn about new flavours and practise my skills in the kitchen. It’s been lots of fun, too.’

For George, it was the first time he had ever entered a competition: ‘It’s been overwhelming but fun at the same time,’ he said.

Photograph of George Perry with his winning dishes
George Perry with his winning dishes

The judges were treated to an impressive collection of stunning dishes, including Lauren’s Chinese Chicken Jalousie, followed by a Five Spice Fortune Cake. George prepared a stunning and accomplished Monkfish with Colcannan, Hollandaise and Asparagus Parcel followed by a Dairy, Fruit and Nut Crumble.


‘Cook It is a fantastic competition that showcases incredible young talent,’ commented cookery writer and judge, Sam Stern. ‘The future is bright for British food,’ he added.

Photograph of Cook It judge Sam Stern

Cook It judge Sam Stern

Organised by the Guild of Food Writers, the Cook It competition asked entrants aged between 10 and 16 to create a two-course meal that they would cook to impress their friends and family. 

After an initial judging stage, six finalists were asked to take part in a ‘cook-off’ held at the Electrolux Training Academy on 17 June in front of a panel of judges. This year, the judges were cookery writers Sam Stern and Felicity Cloake and food writer and TV consultant, Justine Pattison.

Photograph of Lauren Black with her winning dishes

Lauren Black with her winning dishes

The six finalists had 1½ hours to cook their winning meals, with each dish judged on its taste, presentation and originality. The judges were genuinely in awe of the level of skill, creativity and contagious enthusiasm the finalists showed for cooking.

Commenting on the impressive level of talent, Felicity Cloake said, ‘I was honestly gobsmacked by the standard of cooking – these young chefs have talent and ambition in spades. With clever ideas, a good understanding of their ingredients and solid skills, these are all names to look out for in the future!’

Photograph of Cook It Judge Felicity Cloake
Cook It Judge Felicity Cloake

Fellow judge, Justine Pattison agreed, commenting: ‘The amount of thought that has gone into each of the menus is extraordinary and it’s fantastic to see young people cook to such a high standard.’

Photograph of Cook It Judge Justine Pattison
Cook It Judge Justine Pattison

The sponsors, Gold Top, generously offered two first prizes of a four-night family break at Tredinney Farm in Cornwall for the winner in each age group.

Michael Jones, Chairman of Quality Milk Producers, said: ‘We are truly impressed and amazed at the quality of the finalists. Their imagination, from planning the meal to the creativity of presenting it, is inspirational.’

Photograph of from left to right: Michael Jones from Gold Top and George Perry. 
From left to right: Michael Jones from Gold Top 
and George Perry.

To see more photographs of the final please click here 

The other finalists in the 10-13 Age Group were

Juliet Banks, aged 12, from Berkshire
Pork fillet filled with homemade sage and onion stuffing accompanied by potato medallions, green beans and a Marsala jus
Éclair filled with strawberry rippled cream smothered in a bitter chocolate ganache, topped with chopped pistachios and a white chocolate tuile

Will Garland, aged 12, from Suffolk
Spinach and ricotta ravioli
Traditional sticky toffee pudding


The other finalists in the 14-16 Age Group

Emma Hawkins, aged 15, from Oxfordshire
Pan-fried duck breast with lime leaf rice, sweet potato samosa, pineapple chutney and sesame samphire
Chocolate shell filled with a coffee cream, almond praline and poached cherries, served with a cherry coulis

Varun Lobo, aged 15, from Nottingham
Creamy mushroom risotto with a pea and parsley puree, scallops and Parmesan crisp
Caramelised lemon tart with lemon and ginger sauce, raspberry coulis, edible flowers, mint, lemon cream and a lemon macaroon filled with blueberry cream


Logo for Gold TopQuality Milk Producers

Quality Milk Producers (QMP), the co-operative of British Jersey and Guernsey dairy farmers owns the Gold Top milk brand.


Logo for ElectroluxElectrolux is a global leader in home appliances and appliances for professional use, selling more than 40 million products to customers in 150 countries every year. The company focuses on innovations that are thoughtfully designed, based on extensive consumer insight, to meet the real needs of consumers and professionals. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and cookers sold under esteemed brands such as Electrolux, AEG & Zanussi in the UK. For more information, visit


Author: Nicola Graimes Email:

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