The 2019 Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) home management final recently took place at Loughry College, with finalists showcasing their culinary skills and passion for cooking.
Supported by Northern Ireland Pork, competitors had to prepare dishes within an allocated time, with a specific focus on budgeting, waste reduction and local produce.
In the junior section, competitors had to prepare a starter and main course for two people incorporating pork or bacon into the dishes.
Each of the senior finalists had to prepare a starter, main course and dessert for two people.
As June is national dairy month, the dessert had to promote a high standard of the Northern Ireland dairy industry.
The finalists’ dishes were judged by top chef Paula McIntyre.
This was Paula’s fifth year judging the final and with her culinary background competitors were under expert supervision during the final.
Paula has owned an award winning restaurant, been head chef for several local establishments, written her own books, as well as writing a weekly column in Farming Life, appeared on local and national television programmes, including her own show Taste for Adventure, presented on local radio and lectured in catering.
Competitors were judged on use of pork, hygiene, work practice, menu balance, presentation and taste.
In the junior section Ivanna Strawbridge, Coleraine YFC, placed first, with Caroline Barr, Garvagh YFC, placed second and Jordan Shanks, Newtownards YFC, placed third.
In the senior section, first place went to Hannah Cromie, Rathfriland YFC, second was Ellen Woods, Annaclone and Magherally YFC, and joint third was Judith McKinley, Trillick YFC, and Rebecca Cromie, Rathfriland YFC.
Competitors, friends and supporters were treated to a tour of Loughry College to see the superb facilities.
YFCU president Zita McNaugher commented: “The standard of this year’s finalists was extremely high and our judge Paula McIntyre had no easy task in deciding the winners.
“The task this year focused on budgeting, waste reduction and of course incorporated local pork and bacon as the competition was kindly sponsored by Northern Ireland Pork.
“This year as part of the evening we got a tour of the Loughry facilities which was great to see as they really are impressive.
“I’d like to thank Paula for setting the task and judging the competition.
“Congratulations to everyone who made it to the final as the dishes really were fantastic.
“Thanks also to all the friends and supporters who also attended.”