Cooking, Baking, Braising and Roasting: These are just a few of the kitchen skills already perfected by the many children across Ireland who recently took part in our cooking contest. We have received more than 80 impressive posts on our callout asking children to record a one-minute video of themselves with a meal or dish they made. We also wanted to know what they love about baking or cooking and how they prepare their dish.
Children across the country served cakes, breads, pastas, seafood, fried chicken, cakes, and many other delicious dishes.
Our judges, Irish Times columnist and former LA Times food editor Russ Parsons, and Irish Times food writer Lilly Higgins, had the unenviable job of reducing the entries, and many of the videos stood out.
When he was only five, Aki Martin gave a very skillful sushi rolling demonstration and we particularly enjoyed how he ate most of his rice before he got into the role.
Hannah Finnegan of Bettystown Co Meath impressed the judges with the lemon balm she picked in her garden to include in her lemon cake. Galway’s Eoghan Cafferky stood out for his clam noodles and confidence in the kitchen, while Arwen O’Neill’s use of local Donegal produce and her grandfather’s onions and garlic in her spaghetti Bolognese impressed Lilly, who remarked, “Arwen even washes on End, which is a really important step! “
After much deliberation, the judges awarded the prizes to the following children: Sally McKeagney, 9 years old, from Geashill, Co Offaly impressed with her cinnamon rolls. Sally, the youngest of seven children, says that “most” of her family love to eat their rolls, but they are usually devoured the day they are made. Sally wins a cooking lesson for herself and her school class with Gareth Mullins, chef at the Marker Hotel in Dublin, who gave online cooking classes to children during the lockdown.
The judges were of the opinion that Pearl Whooley, 10 years old, from Cork showed real cooking knowledge and felt comfortable in the kitchen when she made her “pasta pronto” which she conjured up for herself and her little sister Seóla. In the medium term, Pearl will win a place at Rozanne Stevens’ Around the World Cookalong Camp, where she will learn 16 recipes from five different continents.
Twelve-year-old Cian Hanrahan from Doon, Co Limerick, delighted the judges with his Victoria sponge, which he iced up and decorated with a marine theme. Cian has started baking with his classmates because of lockdown, and his little elementary school in Doon has bought an oven so they can keep baking once they’re back at school. Cian will take part in a four-week online cooking class with Lisa Davies from saspansospan.ie.
Congratulations to all participants.