Post-primary school pupils from Tyrone are being encouraged to enter a competition that aims to uncover cookery talent.
The second annual Mount Charles Big School Cook Off in association with the Irish News has been launched, with entries now open for pupils between the ages of 11-14 years old across Northern Ireland and Donegal.
Supported by Business in the Community, the Big School Cook Off aims to inspire young people to take an interest in cooking fresh, healthy meals basedon budget-friendly, locally sourced ingredients.
The first stage of the competition invites pupils in teams of two to create a recipe for a main course that will feed two people on a total budget of £5, with an entry deadline of October 27.
The judging panel will shortlist the recipes and the successful teams will take part in a regional heat in January 2018 against other schools, where they will cook the recipe they entered.
The regional finalists will be judged on the day, with the winning team from each county going forward to cook their recipe once again at the grand final in March 2018 for their chance to be crowned the Mount Charles and Irish News Big School Cook Off Champions.
Cathal Geoghegan, Managing Director of Mount Charles said: “Our first Big School Cook Off was a huge success, with an incredible standard of culinary talent displayed, and we’d like to encourage school pupils from Cookstown and the surrounding areas to get involved and show the rest of the country what they’re made of.
“The feedback from participating schools in the last competition was tremendous, with teachers stating that the competition allowed pupils to gain confidence in their cooking ability and gave them a greater interest in cookery, in general; as well as an opportunity to enhance their team-working and time management skills.
“It’s also an opportunity for us to check out the talent of the future as there are
always jobs and skills gaps in the hospitality industry. The Big School Cook Off is a way to encourage young people to consider a career in foodservice down the line.
“All that remains is for me to wish all entrants good luck; ready, steady, cook!” he added.
The final entry deadline is October 27, however teachers who enter their team(s) before the early bird deadline of October 11 will be entered into a prize draw for a £50 shopping voucher.