A BANGOR student has made it to the UK final of a major competition for young chefs.

A PUPIL of St Columbanus’ College, Bangor, has made it to the final of competition for young chefs.

Alex Scates impressed the Northern Ireland judges in Springboard’s FutureChef competition with her vegan meal for two, and will now compete in the UK final in London in March.

The year 10 pupil at St Columbanus’ College won the regional heat by producing the only vegan meal, cooking up a pistachio crusted roast celeriac, celeriac puree, sweet potato fondant, carrot, shitake, shallot, mushroom and plant trim jus for her main, finished off with a vegan chocolate tofu mousse, with nuts, dates, pear and a toasted coconut ice cream.

he took the top spot from a field of seven.

The judging panel was headed up by food development chef, Geoff Baird from competition sponsors, Henderson Foodservice, who was joined by Gemma Austin, owner of A Peculiar Tea and MAMO, Artur Fron, head chef at 2Taps Streetfood, Ulster University’s Culinary Training Officer, Sean Owens, and Kristen Nugent – last year’s Northern Ireland winner who went on to be crowned UK FutureChef Champion in 2023.

The judges all agreed Alex had taken a huge leap of faith and brought her passion for cooking and her vegan lifestyle to the competition, sharing that vegan or vegetarian cooking does not have to be without taste or flair.

She was mentored throughout the competition by Cathy Adamson, Craft Development Chef for Sodexo.

FutureChef is the annual initiative from Springboard, the charity that is committed to nurturing young talent and promoting hospitality as a great place to work.

It is the flagship competition of Springboard’s wider educational programme and has been supported by Henderson Foodservice for the past three years.