Ventura is crowned 2024 FutureChef champion

She beat off a stiff challenge from more than 13,000 students.

Reese Ventura, a 15-year-old from St Philomena's Catholic School for Girls in London, has been crowned the 25th champion of Springboard FutureChef competition. She beat off a stiff challenge from more than 13,000 students from 515 schools to be named the UK’s best young chef.

The national final was held recently at Westminster Kingsway College in London, with 12 talented school children from across the UK battling it out for the top spot. They had had two hours and 45 minutes to prepare a main course and dessert for a panel of industry-leading judges, including Adam Handling, Chantelle Nicholson, Graeme Cheevers and Kerth Gumbs.

Ventura won with a main of mushroom-stuffed chicken ballotine with caramelised cauliflower, fondant potato, purple sprouting broccoli, butternut squash and tarragon jus. This was followed by a deconstructed tiramisu consisting of cannoli, chocolate-whipped ganache and coffee jelly.

“I want to pinch myself to see if it’s real, I can’t believe I made it here!” said Ventura. “Even yesterday, people were asking me,‘Do you want to be a chef?’ and I didn’t know. But since winning, it’s a sign to go into hospitality and it will help me in the future.”

Handling added: “Reese’s attention to detail on every part of her components, in terms of seasoning and execution, was quite wonderful. Everything she did met the brief and beyond, so very well done.”

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