Budding chefs Margaret McGreevy and Molly Sweeney from Scoil Mhuire Milford are through to the final round of the Mount Charles Big School Cook Off.

A team of pupils from Scoil Mhuire Milford have been named a regional finalist of the 2017 Mount Charles Big School Cook Off. Budding chefs Margaret McGreevy and Molly Sweeney will progress to the grand finale in June.

The competition, which is organised in association with the Irish News and Business in the Community, 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.

Mr Roarty, Principal of Scoil Mhuire Milford said: “We are delighted and honoured to win a regional heat of the Big School Cooking Off and we are looking forward to the final in June. 

“This is our first year in entering the competition, and our success is a credit to one of our parents, Elaine Nelis, and the love for cooking that she has given our pupils over the past number of years.”

Leann Duffy, Group Director of Catering at Mount Charles said: “Well done to the Scoil Mhuire Milford team, and thank you to St Cecilia’s in Derry for hosting what turned out to be a truly fierce competition! We were seriously impressed by the knowledge of those taking part, and by their passion for food and cooking.

“It was amazing to see how the same set of ingredients could be used to create such a variety of wonderful dishes, demonstrating the creativity and innovation of our young chefs.

“Each of our regional finalists will take part in the grand final event on 16th June, where they’ll cook the dish that they submitted in their original entry to the competition and we are very much looking forward to seeing these recipes come to life.

“Good luck to our finalist teams, make sure you get plenty of practice in to give yourselves the best chance of becoming the Big School Cook Off 2017 champions!”

Irish News Marketing Manager John Brolly added: “It was really exciting for the Irish News to be involved in the Big School Cook Off with Mount Charles as you got a real sense of the excitement and passion that our young students have for food. The professionalism and energy that they put into the cooking challenge was amazing to experience.

“I would like to thank all the schools, teachers and students that took part as it was a pleasure to experience the high standards they have set for themselves. We are really looking forward to the final,” he said.

Each county winning team has won £200 of vouchers for their school and a masterclass in cookery from Mount Charles Group Development Chef, Simon Toye, previously Executive Chef at the Michelin-starred Deanes restaurant in Belfast.

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

Mount Charles is Ireland’s largest locally owned provider of contract catering, cleaning and vending services for business, industry, retail, education, government and healthcare organisations across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.