THE CREAM of young culinary talent in Penwith came together last week to cook up a feast of which even a MasterChef would be proud.
Eight would-be chefs from Cape Cornwall and Humphry Davy schools rustled up a range of dishes, from curries to kievs, pears to pannacotta.
The students were competing in the Penzance Rotary Young Chef of the Year competition at Penwith College, judged by three of west Cornwall's finest chefs.
And all three said they were impressed with the talent and dedication of the students, who were given a brief to create a healthy meal within a set budget and short timeframe.
Chef Stewart Eddy, from the Victoria Inn at Perranuthnoe, said: "The food scene in Cornwall is very buoyant and well respected in the country. The food industry is also a massive employer in the county. It is a great industry for young people to get into these days."
He was joined by Kevin Montague, from The Beach in Sennen, and Bruce Rennie, from the Gurnard's Head, to watch the young chefs in the kitchen as they prepared their dishes.
Each student then brought out a plate of food in front of an audience of Rotarians, teachers and invited guests, who were also given the opportunity to sample the food.
The winning youngster was Jack Etheridge, 16, of Cape Cornwall School, who cooked a Thai chicken massaman curry with jasmine rice, followed by a vanilla pannacotta with stewed berries.
Jack, who also works in the kitchen at the Kings Arms in St Just, and who won a cook-off in his class to reach the competition, told The Cornishman: "I love cooking. I love making something that I can taste and let other people try and enjoy.
"I got the recipe from a MasterChef book. I took it from there and cooked it as it was in the book and then experimented a bit.
"I will definitely take it (cooking) further. I work at the Kings Arms and I am hoping to be trained to be a sous chef. I wouldn't have done it without them."
The 16-year-old will now go on to compete in the regional competition in Helston.