Five teams of Scouts and one team of Cub Scouts from across Cumbria met up at the Rheged Centre near Penrith to take part in the final of the annual county Scouts Cooking Competition.
Using just two gas burners, as they would on camp, and with only 90 minutes preparation, cooking, serving and clearing time, the Scouts were challenged to produce the most exciting and tasty three-course meal that they could for a budget of just £10.
Three judges kept a close eye on the efforts of the young people as they demonstrated some of the #SkillsForLife that they learned on camp and at their weekly meetings. Lead judge, TV chef Peter Sidwell said, “cooking up a meal on two rings is very difficult, and they are all doing very well.”
Sidwell was joined in judging the competition by the Chief Executive of the Westmorland Group, Sarah Dunning, and by the County Commissioner for Cumbria Scouts, Eddie Ward. As the teams prepared their meals, the three judges moved around the teams, and monitored their efforts. Cub Scout leader David Hodgkiss was let loose with a microphone and interviewed the teams for the benefit of the audience of parents, leaders and everyone else visiting the Rheged Centre.
The five teams represented almost every Scouts district in Cumbria, with only one district unable to attend. Competing teams were: 1st Kirkby Stephen Scouts (Eden District), 10th Kendal Scouts (Kentdale), 13th Carlisle Cubs (Reivers), 2nd Ulverston Scouts (Southwest Lakes), and 1st Hensingham Scouts (Western Lakes). To fill the sixth table, last year’s winning team, 5th/8th Kendal Scouts, were invited as non-competitors.
Showing amazing skills, the teams produced delicious menus such as Bruschetta, Rib-eye Steak Wraps and Tiramisu (1st Hensingham), Mushroom Soup, Chicken Curry and Citrus Brulé (2nd Ulverston), and Figs with Prosciutto, pan-fried Sea Bass and lemon mousse (10th Kendal).
The winning team, from 1st Kirkby Stephen Scouts, delivered an absolute masterpiece to the judges. Their prize-winning menu was Creamy Leak and Potato soup, Pan-fried Haddock served with new potatoes and seasonal vegetables, accompanied by a home-made tartar sauce, and followed by a delicious Eton Mess.
Each team presented their meal to the judges as it was ready, taking care to present their dishes imaginatively. Competition was close, and afterwards Peter Sidwell confided “It is very close, only a couple of points separate the top two teams.”
County Commissioner Eddie Ward presented certificates to the top three teams. In third place, 2nd Ulverston Scouts. In second place, 10th Kendal Scouts, and the trophy-winners 1st Kirkby Stephen Scouts. There was also a special commendation for the 13th Carlisle Cub Scouts, who had demonstrated that Cubs (aged 8 – 10) have the #SkillsForLife to take on and compete well with older Scouts (10 – 14).
Sarah Dunning of the Rheged Centre congratulated the teams, saying; “I am really impressed with the skills I have seen today, and the delicious food we have been served”, she presented the winners with a large gift-bag full of goodies from the Westmorland Group.
Cooking, either at camp or at home, is just one of the many #SkillsForLife that young people can learn when they join the Scouts. Starting in Beavers (ages 6 – 8) and moving on to Cubs (ages 8 – 10.5), Scouts (ages 10.5 – 14) and Explorers (ages 14 – 18), young people can make new friends, volunteer, travel and adventure, and to learn many of the skills that they will need in modern life.
Anyone wanting to join Scouts, or to find out more information, can view our website cumbriascouts.org.uk/join or pop along to their local Scout Hut.