Paul Heathcote in Stonyhurst ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’

Cookery competition to officially open Stoneyhurst's new refectory (from left) Student Harrison Walsh, MD of Northcote Group Craig Bancroft, head chef Lisa Allen, Chef Paul Heathcote, student Charley Redmond and student Sam Heathcote.'Photo Ben Parsons
Cookery competition to officially open Stoneyhurst's new refectory (from left) Student Harrison Walsh, MD of Northcote Group Craig Bancroft, head chef Lisa Allen, Chef Paul Heathcote, student Charley Redmond and student Sam Heathcote.'Photo Ben Parsons

STONYHURST College’s new refectory was officially opened with a Ready, Steady, Cook contest.

Michelin-starred expertise and flair dazzled an audience of parents, pupils and staff as Paul Heathcote, who holds two Michelin stars, and Northcote Manor’s Lisa Allen battled it out in the time-honoured way: just 30 minutes to create gourmet fare from a limited range of ingredients.

They were ably assisted by commi-chefs Diego Ordonez Herrera and Charly Redmond, the school’s head boy and head girl.

Before the cooking began the headmaster, Andrew Johnson, spoke briefly about the refectory’s design and introduced the architect, Michael Hartley, of Cassidy and Ashton. The chaplain, Fr John Twist SJ, then blessed the new building. Craig Bancroft, also from Northcote, then provided a running commentary on the culinary action.

Lisa’s Green Pepper team won the toss and got to choose the main ingredients – a challenging combination of prunes and mini-eggs. This left Red Tomato Paul to work his magic on a tin of tuna and meringue nests, which he duly did, enlisting the headmaster and director of sport as extra helpers.

The audience learnt much from the two chefs, such as how to rescue custard when it splits, and how to make basil sugar.

Finally, the audience had to choose between Lisa’s pea and prune soup, salmon “fish finger” and Easter trifle, or Paul’s tuna and broad bean salad with herb crusted bread crumbs, salmon ceviche, and meringues with cream and basil sugar, before eager pupils polished off the lot!

The Red Tomatoes won the day and everyone had a wonderful evening.