Masterchef Melissa reaches national final.
Melissa Hayes Juniorchef Finalist.A Rawtenstall student will have to tickle the tastebuds of celebrity chef Gary Rhodes after reaching the final of a national cooking competition.
Fourteen-year-old Melissa Hayes beat off tough opposition from across the country to make it to the final six of the prestigious National Juniorchef Competition.
The Alder Grange Community and Technology School student will be given three hours to prepare a three course meal, which will be put to the test by masterchef Gary Rhodes.
Budding chef Melissa was put forward for the competition by her supervisors at Accrington and Rossendale College, where she attends twice a week.
Melissa, who lives on Burnley Road, Rawtenstall, says she has always enjoyed cooking from an earlier age. "I'm thrilled to have got so far in the competition. I'm taking Hopsitality and Catering for my G.C.S.E.'s and I hope to continue it when I leave school.
"I'm looking forward to the final, and being able to cook for Gary Rhodes, as he's an excellent chef. I have been practicing a lot at home - my mum's really pleased as it means she gets a break from the kitchen!"
Melissa has opted for a traditional Lancashire dish consisting of a black pudding fritter, followed by a cannon of lamb with a mint and herb crust in a watercress and spinach puree with chateau potatoes, and dessert will be a trio of rhubarb ice cream, jelly and crumble.
David Hampson, Head of School at Alder Grange, commented: "This is a fantastic achievement, we're really proud of Melissa for getting so far. She is a really talented student and has worked incredibly hard."
Melissa will travel to Thanet College in Kent for the final on 21 May. All the finalists in the competition will receive £50, a medal, and a signed Gary Rhodes cookbook, while the winner will receive £300 plus the medal and cook book, and those in second and third will receive £150 and £100 respectively.