Young chefs create sweet sensation

Jennifer Frankish and Niamh Graham with Iain Herbert, visitor services manager at Dalkeith Country Park
Jennifer Frankish and Niamh Graham with Iain Herbert, visitor services manager at Dalkeith Country Park

The wait will soon be over for the Midlothian restaurants, cafes and bars shortlisted in the annual Food and Drink Awards.

The presentations will be made tomorrow (Thursday) at a gala ceremony at Oxenfoord Castle, near Pathhead.

Almost 12,000 votes were cast by members of the public - nearly a 50 per cent rise in the votes in 2014.

The shortlisted businesses (with the exception of producer and outside caterer categories) were visited by a mystery shopper and these results will be combined with information supplied by the businesses will determine the winners.

The information was judged by an independent panel of judges – Gordon Hodgson (Midlothian Food & Drink Group chairman), Manuela Calchini (Visit Scotland), Quintin Young (Midlothian Tourism Forum), Councillor Jim Bryant (Midlothian Council) and James Fraser (Business Gateway).

Those attending the ceremony will be served the winning dessert - a shortbread and raspberry cranachan - from Jennifer Frankish and Niamh Graham, young chefs from Beeslack Community High School, Penicuik.

The S3 pupils beat off stiff competition from St David’s and Lasswade High Schools to win this year’s Taste of Midlothian schools competition, sponsored by the Buccleuch Estates.

The other students taking part in the final were Emma Harniess and Rachel Turrell from Lasswade High and Anna Chisholm and Caitlyn Smart from St David’s. They were mentored by Bran Jankovic of Saltire Hospitality, Nicky Cornet from The Papermill, and Alan Gorrie of Deli-licious Catering.

The finalists impressed the judging panel with the inventiveness of their recipes.