The 2015 final of the YFCU’s annual home management competition recently took place at the Southern Regional College, Newry.
Supported by Calor and the Northern Ireland Pork and Bacon Forum, competitors from clubs throughout Northern Ireland had to prepare and cook a starter and main course using local pork and bacon and local produce within an allocated time.
The final was the culmination of this popular competition which saw over 600 members enter the first stage back in November 2015.
In the junior section, competitors had to prepare a starter and then create a themed main course incorporating pork or bacon into the dishes.
The junior members also had to create a social media advertising campaign to promote the Northern Ireland Pork and Bacon Forum and present this with their dishes.
Each of the senior finalists had to prepare and produce a starter and main course for two people, using exclusively local produce and include appropriate use of home produced pork or bacon and again Calor gas was the fuel of choice to cook their dishes.
The competitors also had to bake soda bread and use either pork or bacon along with other ingredients of their choice to flavour the bread.
An invited audience had the opportunity to watch the competitors at work via a video link and also enjoyed a presentation by Adam Kelly from Leggygowan Goat Farm.
Adam gave an overview of how his family goat farm and their produce, comprising of goats cheese and soap.
Following Adam’s presentation, chef Paula McIntyre sampled the entrants’ dishes to determine the results and spoke to the invited audience.
This was Paula’s first year judging the final and having owned an award winning restaurant, been head chef for several local establishments, written her own book as well as a weekly column in Farming Life, appeared on local and national television programmes like “Taste for Adventure” her own series on BBC 2 NI and Ready Steady Cook with Fern Britton.
She is also a popular broadcaster with her weekly recipe spot on the John Toal Show, on BBC Radio Ulster.
Paula’s background and expert eye for local Northern Irish produce meant that the competitors were under expert supervision during the final.
In the junior section the top place went to Emily Moore, Newtownards YFC, with Hugh Barr, Garvagh YFC noted as highly commended.
In the senior section the top place and the Linda Currie Gallery Tray went to Stephanie McIlroy, Gleno Valley YFC.
Joy Balance, Moneyrea YFC was highly commended.
In drawing the evening to a close, YFCU president Roberta Simmons extended a note of sincere appreciation to Calor and the Northern Ireland Pork and Bacon Forum for their continued support of the event.
She also thanked Paula McIntyre for all her dedication to and passion for the YFCU Home Management competition.
A further note of thanks was extended to Adam Kelly and to the staff at Southern Regional College, especially Karen Cosgrave for all her help and support throughout the evening.