Food Fight at Local School Inspired Teddington Restauranteur

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By RetroBistrot | Friday, November 29, 2013, 09:39

It was an inspiring sight – a group of enthusiastic pupils from Hinchley Wood Secondary School battling it out in their annual Masterchef competition, sponsored by Teddington restaurant, the award-winning Retro Bistrot.

Proprietor and maitre d' of the Retro was judge alongside his Head Chef Michael Collins.  The Retro Bistrot is winner of several awards including the Good Food Guide Local Restaurant of the Year 2012. Head Chef Michael has worked with the likes of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and Vincent trained with Gary Rhodes so the standards expected in the competition were high!

"The pupils showed real passion for the cookery and went to great trouble to create interesting, flavoursome and attractive dishes," said Vincent. "With all the talk of children spending too much time at a screen seeing these youngsters in action was fantastic". 

Each participant was asked to produce a main course and a dessert, with no limit on choice of ingredients but to a maximum cost of £12.00.  

The final decision was tough but the judges eventually announced Nico Takhar, 15, in Year 10 the winner – he took home the coveted trophy and the prize of a master class in the Retro Bistrot kitchen with head chef Mike Collins.  His winning dishes were: Pan Fried Venison on a bed of mash and white wine jus; Apple Crumble with Crème Anglais.

Nico said, "I was really pleased and a bit surprised when they said my name, as I thought some parts of my dishes didn't go as well as I would have liked.  But the judges seemed to like everything I cooked so I must have got it right overall.  I'm really looking forward to meeting Vince and Mike again especially as it will be when I go to their restaurant.  I'm hoping to pick up some good tips!"


"We were impressed with all the entries and loved the passion the pupils demonstrated in their cooking. Judging was very close but Nico won on his confident use of ingredients."

Co-judge Retro's Head Chef Michael Collins added," the resulting textures and flavours of his dish were superb - and it's not easy cooking venison!"

So impressed was Vincent and his head chef that they declared after the event "there'll be a lot of chefs coming out of this school!"

Keen young chef, 15 year old Ed Harris was last year's winner. He took up his prize of a masterclass in the Retro kitchens on a Saturday and stayed to help with prepping for the rest of a very busy evening. There were over a 100 covers that evening so the extra pair of hands was much appreciated.

"Learning from an expert was brilliant!" says Ed, "I loved the buzz of a busy working kitchen. I was put in charge of the canapés so I had my own job too. Whoever wins this year is lucky. The masterclass at the Retro was fantastic!" 

Vincent Gerbeau says, "It's so important to help youngsters find a role in life and everyone at the Retro was pleased to have played a part in supporting Ed's dream of a catering career, Hopefully we can continue to inspire Nico and the other keen junior chefs".

It seems the teachers at the school were also impressed – they were seen to devour every morsel as soon as the judging was finished!

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