Budding chefs stunned judges with their culinary skills and creations at the Rotary Young Chef Challenge.
Students from Steyning Grammar School donned their aprons alongside those from The Towers Convent School in Upper Beeding to compete for a place in the next round of the competition which is organised by Rotary Club of Steyning & Henfield.
The youngsters had two hours to prepare a three-course meal on a budget and pulled out the stops to produce a range of impressive and tasty dishes.
The judges, Kate Gover from Kate’s Cookhouse in Steyning and Les Nicholson of The Artisan Bakehouse in Ashurst, looked for exciting dishes using locally produced ingredients, alongside their presentation, taste and balance of dishes.
In making the awards they complemented the students. Les said that he would be delighted to see them in his kitchen at any time and Kate said that the high standard of food produced led to some very difficult choices, with single marks between the top scorers.
John Dibb, on behalf of Steyning and Henfield Rotary Club, said that he would have been delighted to spend good money if the dishes were available in a restaurant.
The standard seems to get higher each year.
Louise Lamb and Wendy Searle, heads of food preparation and nutrition at the two schools, said that those taking part were very calm and collected.
With only one mark separating the winners, Molly Walsh came top, receiving a prize of £30 with Lauren Hills the second prize of £20 and the third place went to Lottie Sale with a prize of £10.
All those who entered received a certificate and the prize winners will be invited to go forward into the district semi finals.
The competition is held with the aim of encouraging young people to learn how to cook a healthy meal, develop food presentation skills, consider food hygiene issues, develop organisational and planning skills.
It also aims to and develop an ability to cope in a demanding situation.