Ten students from Christchurch secondary schools have been rewarded for their cooking skills by paying a visit to Lesley Waters’ Cookery School in West Dorset.

The students were the finalists in the Junior Cook of the Year competition organised by Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust earlier this year.

TV chef Lesley Waters was one of the judges who visited The Grange, Highcliffe and Twynham Schools to choose the winners of the competition. Lesley was so impressed by the standard of the dishes that the students presented that she invited the first, second and third placed winners to hone their cookery skills further in a day at her School.

The eager students were given the task of preparing a three course meal consisting of a warm goats cheese and beetroot salad, chicken coated in a black pudding crumb served with an apple and cannellini bean cassoulet and a plum and frangipane tart. They were then able to sit down and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Mary Reader, President of Christchurch Food Festival and a trustee of the Food Festival Education Trust, said: “The students all had a wonderful time and I’m sure they came away having learnt a lot of new skills. Lesley and her sister Jacks are inspiring and very patient teachers and we are so grateful to them for giving up a whole day of their time to reward the Junior Cook finalists in this way.”