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Cooking for royalty: Greenock student chefs win cookery contest at Buckingham Palace

A team of student chefs from Greenock, Scotland, are set to cook for royalty at St James’s Palace after winning the Royal Canapé Contest that was held at Buckingham Palace in March.

Three teams were shortlisted from over 30 entries. Working in teams of five, students from the City of Glasgow College, South Eastern Regional College in Northern Ireland and the London School of Hospitality & Tourism at the University of West London were required to prepare a selection of canapés, worthy of being served at the royal residence.

Ultimately, the team from the City of Glasgow College proved victorious. As their prize, the winning team will have the chance to assist royal chef Mark Flanagan in the kitchens at St James’s Palace as he prepares finger food for 350 guests attending the 50th anniversary of the Craft Guild of Chefs on 21 April.

The Guild is the largest association of chefs in the UK. It was established in 1965 as the Guild of the Cookery and Food Association, and has since encouraged education and the advancement of culinary art and science across all sectors. The Countess of Wessex is the Royal Patron of the Guild. She was present at Buckingham Palace for the tasting, and even tried a few canapés herself, before declaring the winner.

Among the team from Greenock is 30 year-old Maria Anderson, a former chef at Parkdean Holiday Park in Wemyss Bay. Maria is currently studying for an HNC Professional Cookery qualification at City of Glasgow College. She was put in charge of a black pudding canapé, and received praise from both The Countess of Wessex and Mark Flanagan.

“Being at Buckingham Palace for a cook-off was amazing!” Maria said. “I nearly cried when we found out we had won against two other colleges — we didn’t think it was going to happen.”

“It all happened so suddenly that it makes you think you can achieve anything,” she added. “I would never have expected the opportunity to work in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace, but it’s all thanks to our lecturer, Gary Maclean, and City of Glasgow College.”

Gary Mclean, who led the student team in the Palace, said: “This competition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my students and myself. Winning the competition for Scotland was unbelievable. We’re all looking forward to the event at St James’s Palace, where we will recreate the winning canapés for some of the world’s greatest chefs.”

Featured photo credit: shining.darkness

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