We are celebrating 10 Years of Empowering Youth with ‘Junior Inspired Chef’ Competition

17 November 2023

We celebrated a milestone as it marked our 10th birthday with the finale of their Junior Inspired Chef event on Tuesday, raising over £4,000 to help power the charity’s work.

The competition, inspired by the BBC series Junior MasterChef, brought together a group of young chefs who had undergone six-weeks of culinary training at Suffolk New College.

Under the expert guidance of Chef Katie Burton, Chef Assessor at Suffolk New College, the chefs learnt how to prepare five taster dishes, including Butternut Squash Soup, Coq Au Vin, and Panna Cotta. The final showdown took place at Suffolk New College’s Chefs’ Whites restaurant, where the young chefs faced for the coveted title of Junior Inspired Chef in front of a restaurant full of friends and family.

The event, sponsored by MSC, featured quality produce donated by OCF Imports and showcased the skills of five remarkable young chefs – George Hayes, 11; Diego Maconochie, 12; Keavy O’Brien, 12; Mia Burgess, 13; and Micah Maconochie, 14. All the young chefs took part in fundraising for the charity throughout their journey, helping support Inspire’s work shaping successful futures.

Keavy O’Brien, who took part in the competition, said, “I’ve enjoyed raising money for Inspire to help young people.”

The panel of judges included Luke Bailey, Head Chef of the Salthouse Restaurant, and Katie Burton, Chef Assessor at Suffolk New College. After an intense competition, Mia Burgess emerged victorious, earning the title of ‘Junior Inspired Chef 2023’.

As part of the celebration, we received a special birthday cake kindly presented by MSC and the young chefs.

Andy Crump, DCEO of Inspire, expressed his thanks to everyone involved in the event, saying, “The Junior Inspired Chef event not only showcased the incredible talents of these young chefs but also marked a decade of Inspire’s commitment to empowering young people. We are incredibly proud of the achievements of the participants and grateful for the continued support of the organisations who helped make the event a reality.”

In fact, the event served as a source of inspiration for one of the young chefs, who now hopes to pursue a culinary course at the college.

Katie Burton, from Suffolk New College also shared their enthusiasm, explaining, “I was really impressed with the junior chefs’ talent at the event. We are excited for the day that they hopefully become part of our Suffolk Centre for Culinary Arts family, adding their flair and passion to our kitchen. The future looks delicious with these rising stars!”

As the first decade of Insspire draws to a close, the charity looks forward to many more years of empowering youth and creating memorable learning experiences for young people, just like the Junior Inspired Chef competition.