Two teenagers from Penzance and Truro have shown they are a cut above as they qualified for the regional finals of a national cooking competition.

James Greenwood Penny, 15, from Humphry Davy School, and 15 year old Anna West of Penair School, beat other Cornish entrants in the local finals of Springboard’s FutureChef 2017 and will be whisked off to the south west finals next month.

Last week the two aspiring chefs cooked up a storm alongside six other finalists, all aged between 12 and 16, at Rick Steins Cookery School in Padstow.

James wowed judges with a main course of seasonal pheasant with carrot and parsnip puree, crispy kale, game chips and port sauce, followed by rhubarb and strawberry meringue pots.

Meanwhile Anna dished up venison, pomme Anna with broccoli and Stilton puree, wild mushrooms and red wine sauce and a dessert of chocolate fondant with orange yoghurt sorbet.

FutureChef is a four stage national competition involving over 8,000 participants, which also includes classroom resources, chef demonstrations and skills challenges. It aims to tackle the severe skills shortage facing the hospitality sector by inspiring teenagers to develop their cooking skills and understanding of nutrition, and forms a link between schools and employers.

Springboard regional manager James Rowberry, said: “Springboard’s FutureChef was developed as a result of research into young people’s ideas about the hospitality industry. Research revealed that young people really admire high-profile celebrity chefs, yet surprisingly few genuinely consider a career as a chef. Springboard’s FutureChef provides teachers and young people with a wonderful insight into the wealth of career opportunities that the hospitality sector has to offer.”

The south west finals will take place on February 10, with the national final on March 27 at Westminster Kingsway College in London.