Quarteira V Almancil in competition cook off

Marta Castanheiro holds the trophy for the winning school It was student chefs and waiters who were the stars at a Rotary Gala Dinner at the Conrad hotel last week. The students from Escola Dra Laura Ayres in Quarteira and Escola EB 2/3 Dr Antonio de Sousa Agostinho in Almancil were this year's finalists of the Annual Rotary Cookery Competition.

The 2014/15 competition organised as before by Alan Winn of the Rotary Club of Silves and Peter Hinze of the Almancil International Rotary Club began in November last year with four Algarve schools entering between them a total of 14 teams.

The finalists from both schoolsOver the course of the next 6 months 12 volunteer judges ate a total of 28 meals. The final was held at The Conrad Hotel in April with the finalists preparing their meals in the Conrad's own kitchen with ingredients kindly donated by the hotel. "It was very close this year" said Alan Winn "but we had to make a decision and declared the team chosen from the Quarteira school the winners with the Almancil team coming a close second".
The winning team received their trophy at the Gala dinner with personalised aprons presented to both teams.

All the participants who entered the competition are students aged 16-18 who attend a two-year catering course at their respective schools with some being given training as waiting staff and the ones who show an interest in cooking given training as chefs. Both the Almancil and Quarteira schools have their own restaurants which are open to the public for lunch on one or two days a week in term time offering a three-course lunch cooked and served by the students at a very modest price.

Marta Castanheiro holds the trophy for the winning school with Peter Hinze, and Alan WinnNot all the students go on to follow a career in the restaurant or hotel industry but for those who decide they would like to improve their skills and take up catering or waiting as a profession, the schools arrange training at local hotels and restaurants during the school holidays. As the students have started their training jobs for this year, the school restaurants are now closed until the beginning of the autumn term.

"We have been very fortunate to have the Conrad Hotel on board" said Peter Hinze. "The General Manager Joachim Hartl and the Executive Chef Andrew McGie have been tremendously supportive. Not only have the students who reached the final been able to experience a professional kitchen, they have enjoyed being our very special guests at a superb dinner prepared by the Conrad chefs. Accompanied by some of their teachers and families and attended by more than 80 Rotarians and guests, it was plain to see how proud they were.

The catering courses provided by the schools are a fantastic way of getting the best out of students who may not necessarily wish to follow an academic career. In Rotary we are especially pleased to be able to do something for young people and the competition has proved extremely popular and successful. We will certainly run it again starting in November this year.
We welcome applications from all schools in the Algarve and they can email me at peter@rotaryalmancil.org for more details.


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