Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland schoolgirl takes away all-Ireland cookery title with healthy chicken dish

By Lesley-Anne Houston

It seems Northern Ireland is well on the way to producing the next generation of celebrity chefs after five local school pupils produced award-winning dishes in the all-Ireland Takeaway My Way cookery competition.

One of the judges, leading Irish cook Neven Maguire, was won over by Collegiate Grammar School, Enniskillen, pupil Annika Latimer’s flair in the kitchen.

Annika clinched the title in the senior category as her cheesy chicken goujons were chosen as the standout among almost 900 recipes entered.

Two of the runners-up in the junior category, who also hail from Fermanagh, were Louise Sherlock of Devenish College and Maeve McManus of St Aidan’s High School, Derrylin.

All of the aspiring young chefs were challenged to produce healthy, home-made, low-cost versions of their favourite takeaways in the culinary contest sponsored by Safefood — the body responsible for promoting nutrition and food safety — and organised by St Angela’s College in Sligo.

They responded with a mouth-watering selection of ‘My Way’ dishes, including fish and chips, chicken burgers, chicken nuggets and spicy Asian favourites.

Annika’s goujons were accompanied by home-made sweet potato rustic fries and served with a flavoursome pea puree.

Meanwhile Louise’s herb-crusted fish and home-made chips together with Maeve’s hot chicken balls with spicy Moroccan tagine, homemade wedges and rice, ensured that the two also secured the attention of the judge’s tastebuds.

Two Omagh students also triumphed as runners-up in the junior section, with Simon Hunter of Omagh Academy winning with his home-made breaded chicken fillet burger on a wholemeal bap with healthy side salad. And Meibh McKinney of Loreto Grammar cooked up low-fat fish and chips with mushy peas to clinch her spot in the winning line-up.

Now in its second year, the competition is open to all post-primary students in Ireland.

Congratulating the winners, Amanda McCloat, head of home economics at St Angela’s, said: “This competition showcases the emerging cooking talents of students across the island and their ability to create delicious takeaway dishes for themselves, their family and friends.

“With almost 900 recipes entered this year, it shows that students have the appetite to create healthier alternatives to takeaway foods that are tastier, cheaper and can be made without leaving home,” she added.

Communications and Marketing Director at Safefood Fiona Gilligan said: “We are delighted to sponsor the competition again this year.

“We encourage not only home economic students, but all students, to try their hand at this competition and are delighted to see entries coming in from all disciplines,” Ms Gilligan added.

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