Amaya wins Young Chef crown

Published: 24 March 2016

Burntwood School pupil Amaya O’Reilly aged 14 has won the third annual Wandsworth Young Chef of the Year competition.

Her dish of prawn rice-noodle salad to start, a main course of Kung Po chicken with white rice, and raspberry brownie dessert wowed the judges, including celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson.

Second place was taken by Shanice Gayle from Harris Academy Battersea, and Arthur Butler from Chestnut Grove School came third.

The competition is run by the Mayor of Wandsworth and the council’s public health team. It teaches young people how to cook good healthy food to a budget, and gives them the opportunity to access training, mentoring and valuable experience in the catering industry with a view to helping them get jobs in the future.

Young people from eight borough school took part in the final and were given extensive support and mentoring by chefs from major catering contractor Compass. They were also taken on a trip to Billingsgate Market to learn how to source, select and fillet fish and attended a masterclass hosted by The Hospitality & Catering Academy of South Thames College. 

Amaya’s menu will now appear for a day on the menu of the South Thames College Hospitality and Catering Academy’s restaurant. She has also been invited to enter the UK-wide Rotary Future Chef competition.

The Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Nicola Nardelli said:

“Every year the standard of food produced by the Wandsworth Young Chef finalists gets higher and higher. Amaya’s dish would grace any restaurant menu and I believe she has a bright future in catering. 

“Hopefully all the finalists have received a taste of what it is like to cook professionally and an insight into how to succeed in the industry. I’d like to thanks them for all their months of hard work, and I’m especially grateful to Nick Vadis from Compass, Ross Anderson from South Thames College and Antony Worrall Thompson for their support.”