CULINARY champ Matthew Marriott is one step away from a place in the final of a national competition.
In the local heat of the Springboard Future Chef Competition at Blackburn College, he wowed the judges with his two-course meal for two people for just £7 and won his own personally embroidered chef’s whites.
He said: “I served pan-fried chicken breast with parsnip puree, kale and sprouts dressed with pine nuts, cranberries and a port sauce.
“For dessert I made squidgy chocolate and pear pudding with cream and raspberries.
“The hardest part was getting the chocolate pudding out of the ramekin without it falling apart.”
As well as making sure his meal came in on budget, he quantified the nutritional value of the food, with help from his mum Bridget, and got help with how to cook the meal from his dad Dave.
Matthew had to submit a timing plan of how he was going to make sure his food turned out perfectly in the 90 minutes allowed.
He was also given feedback from the judges who suggested adding crispy bacon to the kale for texture and a little more seasoning on the chicken.
Matthew, 14, from Oswaldtwistle, said: “I have been cooking since I was in Year 5 and on a Thursday afternoon I have time off from school to go on a Junior Chef course at Accrington and Rossendale College where I learn how to cook lots of different types of food.
“I like cooking because you can use your imagination and I like being creative. You can also put a smile on someone’s face. I want to be a chef.”
He took up cooking after watching his dad make meals and began helping him by cutting the vegetables.
Matthew completed two days work experience at Michelin starred Northcote Manor in Langho and is now being mentored by Danny Young, a chef at Northcote.
The next stage of the Future Chef competition is the regional final in Manchester next February and the winner will go through to the national final later in the year in London.
He will again have to cook two courses for two people but the budget is £10.