Over the past two months over 40 sessions involving 1000 pupils from Year 4 to Year 8 have taken place at St Peter’s, Old Cleeve and Danesfield in Williton, and in St Michael’s Minehead, Minehead First and Minehead Middle. Names of winners include: Minehead Middle School: Rosy Burge and Ruby Atkins (yr 5), Isabella Melhuish and Rhianna Harding (yr6), Charles Wheater and Kaitlin Carr (yr 7), Daisy Smith and Freya Wyatt (yr 8). St. Michael’s First School: Charlotte Hirons and Amber Hewett (yr 4), Minehead First School: Leon Beynon-Pearce and Harley Finch (yr 4), Danesfield Middle School: Lettie Sutton and Elsie Sanders (yr 5), Zuzu Viner and Sinead Strom (yr 6), SJ Bright and Jacob Howells (yr 7), Flynn Smyth and Ben Shopland (yr 8). Old Cleeve First School: Alexis Kemp and Amy Wickens (yr 4), St. Peter’s First School: Ben Williams and Freddie Jephcott (yr 4).
Werner Hartholt, Development Chef at Butlin’s, and Paul Ruttledge, Head Chef at The Beach Hotel along with the class teachers Lindsay Everett (Danesfield Middle), Sarah Mills and Veronica Curtis (Minehead Middle) have mentored the youngsters and supported them through the early rounds of the competition.
Werner said: “It’s essential that we inspire schoolchildren to consider a career in the hospitality sector, and a fun but informative event like this can only help to do that. It has been a tremendous experience to meet the pupils and see their passion for baking, and hopefully that will continue into adult life and their working career. It’s been a real pleasure and privilege for Butlin’s to be part of the bake-off.”
Paul added: “The Beach Hotel and YMCA Somerset Coast are really proud to be supporting this event. We believe young people should be given every opportunity to access expert advice from potential employers whilst learning and having fun. It would be great to see this expanded with more employers taking their skills and knowledge into local schools.”
The winners and runners-up will now be invited to take part in a masterclass with the two professional chefs at West Somerset College on Tuesday 13 March before taking part in the final on 20 March, where the children will go head-to-head with their bakes being scored by a panel of judges who will decide on the overall winners.
A number of local businesses have been supporting the event including Brook Foods and Arthur David & Co. who have covered the costs of ingredients, baking equipment, and competition prizes.
The project got under way this year thanks to hard work and inspiration from a partnership involving West Somerset Academies Trust, West Coast 360, Butlins, The Beach Hotel, West Somerset Council, Jobcentre Plus, and West Somerset College.