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Lurgan students Niamh and Carla carry Co Armagh hopes in Big School Cook Off

Award-winning chef Simon Toye visits to wish duo luck

Mount Charles Big School Cook Off finalists Niamh Bracken and Carla Withers from St Ronan’s College pictured with Mount Charles Group Development Chef Simon Toye, teachers Mrs Brock, Mr Hanratty, Principal Mrs Corkey, Mrs Harrison, Vice Prinipcal Dr Moore and Mrs O’Brien, Head of Home Economics.

Award-winning chef Simon Toye visited St Ronan’s College recently after students Niamh Bracken and Carla Withers qualified for the final of the Mount Charles Big School Cook Off.

As part of their prize for reaching the final, the students and their classmates were treated to a cookery masterclass from Simon, Group Development Chef at Mount Charles, who showed the group how to make a soft centre chocolate cake with homemade honeycomb and vanilla ice cream.

Niamh and Carla will join six other teams at the finale on Friday, June 16, after winning a regional heat of the nationwide competition, which was organised in association with the Irish News and Business in the Community.

The schools that have reached the final are: Blackwater Integrated College; Drumglass High School; Scoil Mhuire Milford; St Genevieve’s High School; St Mary’s College; St Patrick’s College, Bearnageeha; and St Ronan’s.

The Big School Cook Off was created to inspire young people to think about healthy eating and food provenance, and to encourage them to consider a future career in the hospitality industry.

After whittling down more than 120 entries at stage one, the heats saw 39 teams of pupils between Year 8 – Year 10 from 21 schools across Northern Ireland and Donegal given the same set of ingredients to create a pasta dish of their choice.

Simon Toye, Group Development Chef at Mount Charles said: “It was an absolute pleasure to visit St Ronan’s College ahead of the Big School Cook Off final.

“The girls have done so well to make it to this stage, and hopefully they’ll go away inspired to keep cooking and trying new things. That’s what the competition is all about and as a chef, I love to see young people that are passionate about food and who aren’t afraid to experiment a bit. Best of luck in the final!”

The overall winning team at the grand final will win £300 of vouchers for their school as well as a treat for their family, with a meal at the award winning George’s of The Market restaurant and family tickets to see the Belfast Giants ice hockey team at the SSE Arena.

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