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Matthew celebrates progress in Junior Bake-Off

Matthew celebrates progress in Junior Bake-Off

Two students at Stamford School, George and Matthew Worthington, have progressed through the first rounds of the Rotary Young Chef Competition and Junior Bake-Off, respectively.

George, Year 9, was crowned ‘District Champion’ of the Rotary Young Chef competition earlier this year, with the following rounds of the competition unfortunately having to be cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Matthew, also Year 9, progressed through the first stages of the Junior Bake-Off, participating in rounds virtually using video calls, and just narrowly missing out on a place in ‘the tent’.

They have both shared their experiences with us, you can read Matthew’s experience below, or George’s experience here.

Junior Bake-Off

Junior Bake Off welcomes students aged 9-16 to compete in a series of cooking challenges, this year organised virtually from home, before 20 successful entrants reach ‘the tent’ for a televised series of technical bakes and ‘showstopper’ challenges.

Around 4000 applicants enter each year. Matthew first applied to the competition last year, but was encouraged to practice his baking of pastries and bread before he reapplied this year with flying success, where he progressed as far as the round just before the infamous ‘tent’.

Talking about his time in the competition, Matthew said: “In my first zoom interview, i had to cut my lemon meringue pie and sour dough bread in front of the camera, which was nerve wracking as i didn’t know how they would turn out! The lemon meringue pie was inspired by my granddad, as that was his favourite pudding.

“The last round was the hardest. I had to open a sealed recipe which they had sent in the post with a box of ingredients. Then with those i baked a ginger cake, and decorated it, in front of the camera in a zoom call, whilst they talked to me continuously about the baking, as well as asking other questions, all in just 40 minutes! I completed the challenge, just in time! ”

Matthew W - Junior Bake Off

“Before the mystery round round I had to bake and decorate 5 biscuits and I chose to do them themed on my mum!  So did a teapot, flowers, Father Christmas (she loves Christmas!), an apple (as she is a teacher), a heart and a cup cake.My mum showed me how to do the decorations as she used to decorate cakes – many moons ago!”

Matthew W - Junior Bake Off

Matthew explained how there were some challenges with the competition being held virtually: “Competing from home was strange, as each time i answered a question, i had to say a complete sentence, as it was being filmed to be reviewed at a later date. The people who interviewed me were really nice and friendly, but i had to repeat my first interview as the quality of their internet when they played it back wasn’t very good.

“I also had to show them things i do outside of baking, such as during lockdown i made my own juggling balls and taught myself to juggle, and i showed them some karate moves as they were impressed that i achieved my black belt in karate at the age of 9.”

Reflecting on his experience, Matthew said: “Initially, I was gutted because I really wanted to get into the tent and be able to show them my skills, but then I realised how well I had done to get so far!”

George and Matthew’s mother, Mrs T Worthington, Reception teacher at Stamford Junior School, said: “Both of my boys have been truly inspired by taking Food Tech at school. Mrs Hawkins has been a major support throughout both of my boys successes, she is a real credit to the school. The boys say ‘she is an amazing and inspiring teacher’, and both boys are excited to be continuing to take GCSE Food Tech next year.”

Read George’s experience in the Rotary Young Chef competition here.

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