On Wednesday, five apprentices from Port Vale’s U18s squad went head to head in an in-house MasterChef competition at Vale Park.
Each group were given a certain dish to make, with step by step instructions provided. For Ben Lomax and Dan Mahaffy, it was charred corn, feta and spicy king prawn conchiglie. Callum Besford and Braden Webb on the next team were tasked with a creamy pesto and pea pasta, whilst due to odd numbers, Aaron Davies was in a team of one and the goalkeeper’s allocated dish was sweet and smoky BBQ fajitas.
After retrieving all of their required ingredients and getting their prep done, all three groups got to work as they attempted to perfect their dishes.
Despite being tasked with perhaps the most straightforward of dishes, Callum and Braden made a lightening quick start to their creamy pesto and pea pasta, settling into the kitchen environment very quickly and had their finished product underneath the hot pass in no time.
On the other side of the kitchen, Ben and Dan started a little slowly but soon got into their groove and had their charred corn, feta and king prawn conchiglie looking restaurant standard by the end of play.
Despite being on his own, Aaron showed no signs of being left behind by the others and cracked on with his BBQ fajitas in a calm and measured fashion, with his finished dish looking every bit the part.
After all the hard work in the kitchen was done, each group presented their dishes to four club staff members to taste and score their food.
Once all dishes were tried and tested, it was time to announce the winner and with an overall score of 23/30, Aaron took the MasterChef crown with his BBQ fajitas going down a real hit with the judges.
Matthew Meredith, Head of Education at Port Vale discussed the importance of the in-house competition… “It was a fantastic event, which allowed for the lads to develop a key life skill in practising their cooking skills under the supervision of our head chef Barry Connolly, at Port Vale academy we pride ourselves on facilitating opportunities to learn outside the classroom.”
Tutor Robert Hare added: “These dishes can be used in host family accommodation and given to the chef at the football club to help improve the diet of these young footballers.”