YOUNG chefs competed to create the tastiest fine dining menu in a college cookery competition.

Swindon College students in 11 teams had three hours to set a table and prepare a sumptuous feast for two to be in with a chance of being crowned the Rotary Club Chef of the Year.

Emily Sumner, Zoe Hammond and Thomas Kaye were one of the teams trying to impress the judges with their culinary creations.

Emily said: "It was quite stressful but as long as you stay on top of everything, it's fine. It was actually really fun to do and I much prefer the fine dining theme to last year's theme.

"I was nervous last year because it was my first time in the competition but this year I looked forward to it, it's a nice change of pace to be able to choose what to cook.

"I want to become a professional chef, run my own restaurant, and travel the world."

All menus had to include three specific elements: a vegetarian starter of some sort with a duck egg, a main course which had a chicken fillet as its main ingredient, and a dessert which includes Bramley apples in the recipe.

Steve Davison from the Swindon Thamesdown Rotary Club came up with the competition six years ago and judged it with development chef from Arthur David Food Supplies Steve Shore, who has 30 years of experience as a professional chef.

Mr Shore said: "The standard of cooking is very high and it gets better every year. There are always lots of exciting menus with interesting combinations.

"The industry is crying out for new blood to come into the kitchen and work their way up to the top, so it's great to see so many students who are passionate about cooking."

Mr Davison said: "I wanted this to motivate and encourage people to cook and become chefs.

"Last time, the theme was World Cup countries and the difference between the top and bottom teams was just eight marks, so it's a very close competition and they put a lot of preparation and hard work into it.

"We judge on whether the dishes taste nice and made nicely, and if the ingredients are used well."

Rutuja Wali, Michael Deval and Andrew Baker won first place, winning engraved chef knives and a cash prize, while Zak Roberts, Karolina Spalinska and Jack Stevens came second, and the team of Laurence Hitt, Keir Plumb and Rzan Alkabier were third.

Sian Vockins, hospitality lecturer at the college, organised the event. She said: "It's quite an intense event, it makes the students really think and they have to plan under pressure and develop the skills they need to pursue a career in this industry.

"They push themselves with the types of dishes they're doing and getting the timings right. Everyone wants to win, they're very competitive, especially the second and third years who have done it before.

"They were relieved when it's over but very glad they took part."