The 2016 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 competitors also had to incorporate a dairy product into their dishes in honour of June being ‘Love Dairy’ month as part of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink.
The final was the culmination of this popular competition which saw over 500 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 Andrew Boyd from Kilmegan Cider who gave a great presentation about how his cider making hobby grew into an award winning business.
Following Andrew’s presentation, Chef Paula McIntyre sampled the entrants’ dishes to determine the results and spoke to the invited audience. This was Paula’s second year judging the final and Paula’s background and expert eye for local Northern Irish produce meant that the competitors were under expert supervision during the final.
She 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 and 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 slot on the John Toal Show, on BBC Radio Ulster.
Paula also lectures in catering on the Professional Cookery programme in Northern Regional College.
In the Junior Section of the Home Management Finals, first place was awarded to Emma Rodgers from Spa YFC, with Ashleen Agnew from Randalstown YFC being awarded second place and Megan Agnew from Glarryford YFC being awarded third place.
In the Senior Section the top place and the Linda Currie Gallery Tray went to Zara Taylor from Lylehill YFC. Second place went to Stephanie McIlroy from Gleno Valley and third place went to Jaimie McCowan from Straid YFC.
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 Andrew Boyd from Kilmegan Cider and to the staff at Southern Regional College, especially Karen Cosgrave for all her help and support throughout the evening.